President of the United States, Mr. Joe Biden, congratulated his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his re-election victory and talked about Ankara purchasing F-16 fighter jets and Sweden becoming a NATO member. Both leaders talked on a phone call on Monday and expressed their interests. Erdogan wished to purchase US-made F-16 aircraft, and on the other hand, Joe Biden desired Turkey to drop its objection to Stockholm becoming a member of the transatlantic military alliance. American President said he expects more discussion next week. On Sunday, Erdogan won his third term Presidential election and has been receiving greetings from different countries, and there were celebrations all over Turkey.
President Bide spoke to reporters in the White House and said he talked to Teyyib Erdogan, who was still interested in buying US F16s, but Biden wanted a deal with Stockholm. Reporters asked Biden if he expects any movement from Erdogan on Sweden’s NATO membership, and he answered he had raised this issue and they would talk further next week. Mr. Biden asked Ankara’s President to drop his objection to Sweden and come back in touch and talk further.
Stockholm and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, but long-held military nonalignment policies were abolished due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. All NATO members must approve the country’s bid to make it part of the alliance. All members approved Helsinki, which became the military alliance last month, but reservations from Hungary and Turkey have held up Stockholm’s membership. Ankara claims Stockholm shelters members of armed groups that Turkey considers Terrorists. This is the objection by President Erdogan that is stopping him from allowing Sweden to become a military alliance member.
Turkey Desires to Purchase Heavy Military Defense From the US
Turkey aims to purchase advanced F-16s fighters from the United States and around 80 modernization kits. But the deal has been revoked by US Congress due to Ankara’s refusal to green signaling the NATO enlargement, Turkish human rights records, and its policy over Syria. However, President Biden’s administration has repeatedly announced that they support the deal for Turkish defense.
Ankara ratified Finland’s NATO alliance earlier this year and days after it successfully grabbed a deal with US Congress, which includes avionics software upgrades for F-16 fighter jets that Turkey currently possesses. It was a much smaller deal worth $ 259 million compared to the agreement Ankara desires to make now, which may be more than $20 Billion.
Despite Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement in January that the US indicated approval of NATO bids would be viewed positively by Congress. Biden administration has consistently denied any “quid pro quo” between the sale and NATO enlargement. To make Sweden join the military alignment before Mid of July is the top priority of the White House. A NATO summit will be held in mid-July in Lithuania, where all allied military members will participate, and the US wants to make Sweden appear as a member.
Sources claim they have told Turkey if it doesn’t show a positive gesture for Sweden’s membership, it would be harder to make Congress approve the fighter jets deal. In a statement from the Turkish President regarding the call between Biden and Erdogan, Ankara announced that the two leaders have agreed to strengthen their collaboration on all fronts of their bilateral relationship. This alliance has become increasingly significant as they face various regional and global challenges.