Senator Cardin: No decision on F-16s for Türkiye yet

    WORLD  30 September 2023 - 18:02

    Sen. Bob Menendez has stepped down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee following his indictment over an Egypt-linked bribe scandal, but the panel’s new leader could still hinder Saudi attempts to strike a defence pact with the US and Türkiye’s bid to procure F-16 fighter jets.

    Ben Cardin said that he talked with Turkish representatives at the NATO ambassadors meeting on September 27, Defense News reports.

    “I reminded them to stay on track to get the accession of Sweden into NATO,” said Cardin. “They claim that’ll be done first part of next month. If that is true, then we should have the NATO issue resolved, but there are other issues in addition to just NATO accession that needs to be part of our discussions going forward.”

    He said he had not made a decision on whether he would allow the F-16 sale to proceed.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan explicitly linked the two issues this month, stating that Ankara would ratify Sweden’s accession if the US moves forward on the F-16 sale. The Turkish parliament could take up Sweden’s accession bid when it returns from a months-long recess in October.

    Menendez’s former position as Foreign Relations chairman proved to be Türkiye’s chief obstacle in inking the roughly $20 billion sale for 40 Block 70 F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits. He had repeatedly said Sweden’s NATO accession would not be enough for him to approve the sale, at times pointing to a range of other concerns like border tensions with Greece.

     

    Caliber.Az

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