BY DAILY SABAH
Negotiations with the United States on sales of F-16 fighter jets are “going on positively,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday, adding that he may later discuss this issue over the phone with U.S. President Joe Biden.
The remarks come just two days after Erdoğan said that he had received “positive” feedback from two U.S. senators he met with in New York on their potential support for the sale of F-16s to Türkiye.
Türkiye has been seeking to modernize its air fleet and sought to buy 40 F-16 jets and nearly 80 modernization kits from the U.S. Biden has said he supports the sale and that he would work to convince lawmakers to deliver the F-16 jets for Türkiye’s air force.
“We hope that this positive atmosphere will continue. I think we will get a result from this as soon as possible,” Erdoğan told reporters in New York, where he attended the annual U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) of world leaders.
Erdoğan met with U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Coons during his stay in New York.
“Of course, we did not have the opportunity to discuss the issue in detail with Biden at the reception. Later, we may have the opportunity to discuss these issues over telephone diplomacy,” he told reporters.
Erdoğan earlier this month said his country may turn to other countries such as Russia if the U.S. fails to follow through on its promise to deliver F-16s after a bill recently approved by American lawmakers created a new hurdle for any purchase by Türkiye.
The House of Representatives in July approved legislation that would bar the sale to Ankara unless the Biden administration certifies that doing so is essential to U.S. national security. It also includes a description of concrete steps taken to ensure they are not used for “unauthorized overflights” of Greece.
Ankara has been voicing its firm opposition to any conditions on the sale of the jets.
Erdoğan earlier this month expressed hope that the U.S. will “not lead” Türkiye to “different tracks.”
“The U.S. is not the only one selling warplanes in the world. The U.K., France and Russia sell them as well,” he said. “It’s possible to procure them from other places, and others are sending us signals.”
The sale of U.S. weapons to Türkiye became contentious after Ankara acquired Russian-made S-400 defense missile systems. The deal triggered U.S. sanctions as well as Türkiye’s removal from the F-35 fighter jet program.