U.S. President Joe Biden said he had spoken with re-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about Ankara’s desire to buy US F-16 fighter jets and his objection to Sweden joining NATO.
Speaking to journalists about the election in Turkiye, Biden stated that the conversation occurred upon Biden’s call to Erdoğan to congratulate him for winning Turkiye’s presidential run-off on Sunday.
Biden stated that Washington D.C. wanted Ankara to drop its objection to Sweden’s joining NATO. Biden said, “I spoke to Erdoğan. I congratulated Erdoğan. He still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, so let’s get that done. And so we’ll be back in touch with one another,”.
Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership together. Turkiye approved the latter’s application but refused Sweden’s request. Erdogan has expressed his reluctance to ratify Sweden’s membership of NATO since it applied for membership last year, complaining that the Scandinavian country wasn’t doing enough to combat terrorism, referencing its harbouring of wanted Kurdish figures.
Sweden’s application to the alliance must be ratified by all its members. Turkiye and Hungary refuse Stockholm’s application.
The U.S. Congress has also previously proposed Swedish membership as a condition for selling F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye.
Turkish Defence Ministry sent a letter of Request (LoR) in 2022 to the U.S. to purchase 40 F-16 block 70 and 79 f-16 modernisation kits to upgrade the existing F-16 fleet to block 70 level. The decision is not officially declared, but Congress pursued a wait-and-see policy until the presidential election is completed. In the meantime, Turkiye negotiates with the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom to acquire Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.