United States

US agrees to sell Turkey jets after Ankara approves Sweden’s Nato bid

Author: Editors Desk Source: Financial Times
January 27, 2024 at 17:25
Turkey will buy 40 F-16 fighter jets from the US © REUTERS
Turkey will buy 40 F-16 fighter jets from the US © REUTERS

The Biden administration has told US lawmakers that it intends to sell Turkey $23bn worth of F-16 fighter jets after Ankara formally cleared Sweden’s bid to join the Nato military alliance.

The US Department of State notified Congress that it planned to approve Turkey’s request to buy 40 F-16s, according to an announcement late on Friday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The US also intends to sell Turkey kits to modernise 79 existing F-16 jets as part of the deal. 

US approval of the arms deal, which Turkey first proposed more than two years ago, is expected to bring to a close a long-running saga that has dogged relations between the Nato allies.

“These new and refurbished aircraft will provide Turkey with a fleet of modernised multi-role combat aircraft to enable it to provide for the defence of its airspace, contribute to Nato missions to preserve regional security and defend Nato Allies,” DSCA said.

The US also said on Friday that it planned to approve Greece’s request to purchase almost $9bn of latest-generation F-35 fighter jets. That deal had also been caught up by the deadlock in approving Turkey’s F-16 purchases.

Washington will also give Greece excess defence equipment, according to a letter from Antony Blinken, secretary of state, to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Greek officials feel that Washington is trying to strike a balance between two Nato members with traditionally tense relations.

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