U.S. sanctions F-16 deal with Turkey, F-35 to Greece following Turkish sanction of Sweden’s NATO induction

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US Greenlights F-16 Sale to Turkey as NATO Expands

Following the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership by the Turkish government, the Biden administration approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. This monumental event marks a pivotal advancement in the expansion of the NATO alliance, which has risen to even greater prominence against the backdrop of Russia’s Ukraine invasion. Information on these recent events is revealed from the source of Reader Wall.

Fighter Jet Transaction Details

The U.S. State Department informed Congress of its authorization of the hefty $23 billion F-16 sale to Turkey. Simultaneously, an $8.6 billion sale of state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets to Greece received the okay. These significant decisions followed Turkey’s submission of its ‘instrument of ratification’ for Sweden’s NATO membership in Washington, which houses alliance documentation. Furthermore, several influential members of Congress decided to set aside their prior objections.

Included in the sale to Turkey are new 40 F-16s as well as resources for upgrading 79 of the country’s existing F-16 fleet. The sale to Greece contains 40 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and associated equipment.

Behind the Deal

An existing NATO ally, Turkey has shown interest in updating its F-16 fleet for some time, a move that was made conditional on the approval of new plane sales in its ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership. While the Biden administration was in favor of the sale, there were concerns expressed by lawmakers regarding human rights.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s chairman, Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md, and ranking member, Senator Jim Risch, R-Idaho, were among those who initially objected to the sale, citing their concerns surrounding Turkey’s record on human rights. However, after receiving commitments from Turkey that they would aim to better their human rights record, they dropped their objections.

According to a hot-off-the-press statement from Senator Ben Cardin, he still has reservations about Turkey’s rights record. However, due to the nation’s promise to improve, he agreed to the sale. Excitedly, he stated his enthusiasm for the new chapter in their relationship with Turkey and the NATO alliance’s expansion.

Membership Delays

Interestingly, Turkey had been stalling its approval of Sweden’s NATO membership for over a year. The delay was primarily due to Turkey’s belief that Sweden didn’t take their national security concerns seriously enough, including their battle against Kurdish militants and other threats to their security.

These delays frustrated the U.S. and other NATO allies. After all, the majority had been swift to welcome both Sweden and Finland into the alliance after the nations relinquished their longstanding military neutrality following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden’s formal NATO membership is now in the hands of Hungary, the last remaining NATO ally yet to approve its membership. Reader Wall’s source states that US and NATO officials anticipate a swift decision from Hungary, especially after the decision by Turkey.


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