Turkish delegation to visit Washington for sale of F-16 fighters
A Turkish delegation will visit Washington next week to discuss F-16 fighter jet sales to Turkey, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Last year, Turkey made an official request to buy 40 F-16s and 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet, after Washington excluded it from the F-35 stealth fighter jet program over its acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense missiles in 2019.
Akar said the delegation will hold a meeting with relevant authorities in Washington on Monday on a fourth round of talks.
The US government expressed willingness to proceed with the sale, but a possible deal needs approval from the Congress.
“We should sell [Turkey] the F-16 jets and modernize those jets as well. …I need congressional approval to be able to do that. And I think we can get that," US President Joe Biden said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in June.
But the US House of Representatives last month passed an amendment that would restrict the ability of the Biden Administration to sell or transfer the fighter jets to Turkey.
The amendment requires Biden to provide guarantees to Congress that in the 120 days prior to the transfer the Turkish government has not "violated the sovereignty of Greece, including through territorial overflights."
Turkish authorities rejected the decision.
"We told our interlocutors that it is not possible for us to accept these conditions. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, also said. We hope that this will be abolished in the Senate," Akar said on Monday.