Turkish defense delegation to discuss F-16 in U.S. visit nest week
A Turkish delegation is slated to visit Washington next week to follow up on U.S. President Joe Biden’s pledge of delivering F-16 fighter jets for Turkey, SoL news site reported on Tuesday, citing the Turkish Defence Ministry.

The officials are due to arrive in Washington on Monday on the invitation of unnamed U.S. officials, it cited Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as saying.

NATO member Turkey has applied to purchase 40 Blok 70 Viper F-16s and as many as 80 modernization kits for its existing F-16 fleet after purchasing Russian S-400 air defense missiles. The acquisition of the Russian weapons in 2019 prompted the United States to bar it from a program to develop and purchase the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

"We have applied for the F-16 and held a three-day meeting in accordance with this application. On August 15, we will hold another meeting," Akar said, adding that Ankara remained firmly opposed to conditions on the sale imposed by leading members of U.S. Congress.

In June, Washington signaled a new willingness to sell upgraded fighter jets after Turkey dropped its opposition to efforts by Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance.

Biden, on the sidelines of a June NATO summit in Madrid, said he had full confidence on the congressional approval needed for the sale to be obtained.

But in July, 35 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to the U.S. president expressing opposition to the potential sale of F-16 fighter planes and mechanical upgrades to Turkey citing Ankara’s “vast human rights abuses” at home and abroad.

The same month, U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a measure that prohibits the U.S. president from selling or transferring the fighter jets or kits to Turkey unless the President can show Congress that Turkey has “not violated the sovereignty of Greece” in the last 120 days, according to the Greek Reporter.

 “We cannot accept these conditions. Our wish is that the Senate removes them,” Akar said on Tuesday.

 “Biden’s approach was very positive in Madrid,” Akar added.

Any potential deal between the NATO allies on fighter jets would require congressional approval.

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