After Sweden’s long-delayed NATO membership was approved by Turkey’s parliament, the $23 billion transaction was completed.
Following Sweden’s NATO membership being authorized this week by the Turkish parliament, the United States has approved the sale of F-16 fighter fighters to Turkey.
The $23 billion deal to sell the fighters to NATO partner Turkey and the $8.6 billion sale of cutting-edge F-35 fighter jets to Greece, another ally in the Western military bloc, were reported to Congress by the US Department of State on Friday night.
Hours after Turkey deposited its “instrument of ratification” for Sweden’s NATO entrance with Washington, the alliance document repository, and after a number of influential members of Congress withdrew their objections, the department sent out its notification.
40 Lockheed Martin F-16s and equipment to upgrade 79 of Turkey’s current F-16 aircraft are part of the sale. Forty F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and associated equipment are going to Greece.
Turkey has long wanted to modernize its F-16 force, and in October 2021 it made a request for the aircraft. However, the country’s inability to get legislative approval for Sweden’s NATO bid was a hindrance.
Sweden’s membership had been conditioned by Ankara on the sale of the new aircraft being approved.
The sale received the backing of President Joe Biden’s administration, but a number of senators had voiced concerns about Turkey’s human rights record.
“Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership has been a condition of my approval of Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 aircraft.” Ben Cardin, a Democrat and the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the four important committees that must authorize arms shipments, stated, “But make no mistake: This was not a decision I came to lightly.”
“I’m excited to start this new chapter in our relationship with Turkey, grow NATO, and collaborate with our international allies to confront Russia’s persistent aggression against its peaceful neighbors,” he stated.
Congress will have 15 days to object to the sale before it is taken into consideration.
More than a year passed before Sweden’s NATO membership was approved by Ankara, supposedly because of Stockholm’s perceived lack of consideration for Turkey’s national security issues, which include the country’s battle against Kurdish rebels and other organizations it views as security threats.
The US and other NATO partners, nearly all of whom had welcomed Sweden and Finland into the alliance quickly when the Nordic nations abandoned their long-standing military neutrality in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, had been irritated with the delays.
In April, Finland joined as the alliance’s thirty-first member.Since Hungary is the sole NATO country impeding Sweden’s candidacy, all eyes are on it at this point. Officials from the US and NATO have stated that, in light of Turkey’s move, they anticipate Hungary acting swiftly.