Ankara, Apr 3: Ankara is expecting “positive outcome” concerning implementation of its plans to purchase F-16 fighter jets from Washington once US President Joe Biden is able to resolve objections to the sale in the US Congress, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.
“In fact, there is no such thing as complete blocking. We know that the [Biden] administration is making sincere efforts. They are determined to provide Turkey with F-16 or kits required to modernize the existing Turkish aircraft. There are those who are against it in the Congress, but we know, that the administration is making effort regarding those who are against. We also expect positive outcome,” Cavusoglu said, as quoted by Turkish broadcaster TRT Haber.
At the same time, the top Turkish diplomat added that the Biden administration had first to convince the US Congress of the need for the deal, which could only be achieved through dialogue with the opponents.
In April 2021, the United States excluded Turkey from the F-35 programme after Ankara purchased Russia’s S-400 air defense systems. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said later that year that Washington had offered that Ankara buy F-16 jets instead, one generation behind the F-35s. However, the deal needs approval of the US Congress.
The Biden administration has long been seeking a green light from the US Congress for the sale of F-16 fighters to Ankara, with the US State Department trying to convince lawmakers that the deal aligns with Washington’s interests, but some congressmen strongly oppose the initiative.
Against the background of the protracted negotiations in the US government, Chagri Erhan, a member of the Turkish Presidential Security and Foreign Policy Council, told Sputnik that Ankara could abandon the idea of purchasing F-16s from the US and consider replacement options, including the acquisition of Russian fighters.
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