Turkish foreign minister calls on U.S to "maintain balance" in relations with Greece and Turkey
"The United States has started disturbing the balance between Turkey and Greece," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday ahead of a key visit to Washington on Wednesday.
"The U.S. has been pursuing a balanced policy. An ally like the U.S. must be careful to maintain this balance," Cavusoglu said at a press conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, referring to media reports about the possible U.S. sale of F-35 fighter jets to Athens.
"In Cyprus, the balance between the Turkish and Greek parts also began to deteriorate," he said.
Cavusoglu added that Ankara is not interested in "who sells weapons to which side," adding, "What matters to us is our strength, what we do, what steps we take for our interests. That is what matters to us."
During his upcoming visit to Washington on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said he would hold the second ministerial-level meeting under the Turkey-U.S. Strategic Mechanism with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In its efforts to procure new F-16 fighter jets and modernization packages, Ankara "has reached an agreement with the U.S. government in all respects. We expect it to be passed (in Congress) without any problems"
If the U.S. government stands firm, "there will be no problem," he said, adding, "We do not want to buy products from any country with reservations."
On Friday, the Biden administration told Congress it was preparing for the possible sale of $20 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, but a U.S. lawmaker who has long opposed the deal said he still opposes the sale.
"As I have repeatedly made clear, I strongly oppose the Biden administration's proposed sale of new F-16 aircraft to Turkey," Sen. Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.
Under U.S. arms export laws, Congress has 30 days to consider the deal. If Congress wants to block the deal, it must pass a joint resolution of disapproval. Congress can also pass legislation to block or modify a sale at any time up to delivery.