F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets ‘arrive’ in Turkey in mid-August
WASHINGTON — Turkey and the United States will hold a technical meeting on August 15 to discuss a deal to acquire F-16 fighter jets, Anadolu Agency reported on Monday, citing Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. “Turkey and the US will hold a technical meeting on the F-16 deal on August 15,” Akar was quoted as saying by Anadolu. I.e. figuratively speaking, the F-16 “may arrive” in Turkey in mid-August because the door to the sale will be wide open.
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The defense minister noted that Greece had tried to dissuade the US from selling fighter jets, but failed. He called Greece’s position “abnormal”.
At the same time, Akar noted that Turkey is ready for both positive and negative results of the negotiations.
“Ankara hopes for a positive outcome of the negotiations on the delivery of F-16s from the US. Otherwise, there are already many alternatives in the world. New solutions are not excluded,” Akar said.
As we reported in mid-July the US House of Representatives has passed a bill that limits Turkey’s F-16 Block 70 program. The bill in question includes a ban on the sale of the F-16 Block 70 unless Turkey guarantees that Greek airspace will not be violated.
House of Representatives member Frank Pallone introduced a bill containing the delivery of the F-16 Block 70 to Turkey. In summary, the bill presented by Frank Pallone says that if Turkey uses the F-16 Blok 70 fighter jets that it will buy from the US and guarantees that it will not violate Greek airspace with these planes, the sale of the planes to Turkey can be “open”.
Pallone’s bill passed 244 to 179. The bill will now be added to the 2023 US National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA]. President Biden has the power to veto this bill, but only 5 bills have been vetoed so far in the history of the NDAA.
Defense industry analyst Arda Mevlutoglu summarized the process this way: “As you know, the NDAA has drafts prepared by the House of Representatives and the Senate. They are combined into a joint commission, become a single project, and are presented to the president for approval. The president has the right of veto”.
Last fall, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington had offered to supply Turkey with F-16 fighter jets in exchange for its earlier investment in the F-35 program, from which Ankara was excluded several years ago after acquiring the Russian S- 400.
The United States has repeatedly raised concerns about Turkey’s acquisition of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia, as it was believed that Russia could use the systems to obtain information on fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bombers.
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