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Biden Urges Congress to Expedite Approval for F-16 Sale to Turkey

F-16 Sale

US President Joe Biden has sent a letter to top Senate and House lawmakers, urging “Congress to proceed with the F-16 sale” to Türkiye “without delay,” a US official told Anadolu Agency.

Biden’s letter welcomed “the Turkish parliament’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession protocols” and informed the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Biden administration “intends to formally notify Congress of the sale of F-16s to Türkiye as soon as this process is complete,” the official said on Wednesday.

The Turkish parliament overwhelmingly ratified Sweden’s NATO membership in a 287 to 55 vote on Tuesday. Hungary is now the only NATO member state that has not signed off on Sweden’s entry into the alliance. Finland and Sweden — both Nordic countries close to or bordering Russia — applied for NATO membership soon after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022. Finland became NATO’s 31st ally in April 2023 following approval from all of the alliance’s legislatures.

Following the Turkish parliament’s approval, a National Security Council spokesperson told Anadolu that Biden continues to support the sale of F-16s and their modernisation kits to Ankara, saying it “would help facilitate NATO interoperability and is in the US national interest.”

Türkiye submitted a letter of request in October 2021 to purchase 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and 79 modernisation kits from the US. The Biden administration informally notified Congress of the sale last January, and a tiered review process was initiated to start negotiations with Congress.

Key lawmakers in Congress have tied the F-16 sale to Türkiye’s approval of Sweden’s NATO accession bid. Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday he was “pleased” with the Turkish parliament’s approval.

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