US State Department: We are not the only actors in F-16 sales and NATO talks with Turkey
US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller clarified the administration's stance on the conjectured linkage between Sweden's potential NATO membership and the sale of F-16 jets to Turkey, saying “We are not the only actors in this process,” in a recent press conference.
The matter came into limelight after the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, conveyed his distress about the alleged linkage, which he discussed with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Miller noted that there hasn't been any recent development concerning the sale of F-16 jets. He also firmly stated that the US administration believes there shouldn't be a connection between the potential aircraft sales and Sweden's NATO membership discussions. However, he acknowledged the US Congress' significant role in approving the sale, hinting that some members might be exploring a connection between the two matters. “We are not the only actors in this process,” Miller remarked, indicating the multi-faceted nature of the ongoing discussions.
During the G20 Leaders Summit, President Erdogan expressed his apprehensions about certain quarters trying to relate the F-16 sales to Sweden's stance on NATO. He vociferously voiced his discontent stating, "Unfortunately, friends are taking and steering the F-16 issue, saying 'Sweden too, Sweden.' This kind of approach is seriously upsetting us."
Erdogan further pointed to the authority of Turkish parliament in this matter, emphasizing that a decision on this front has not yet been passed by the Turkish legislative body. He added, "As long as such a decision is not passed by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, it is not possible for me to say 'yes'," indicating a measured approach towards the situation.
The development underscores the complex geopolitical considerations surrounding the potential F-16 sale and brings to light the diplomatic nuances involving Turkey, the US, and the prospective NATO membership of Sweden. This evolving situation remains under close scrutiny as stakeholders await further developments.