Erdogan links sale of US F-16s to Ankara to ratification of NATO membership Sweden

Turkey will ratify Sweden’s NATO membership if the US sells F-16 to Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared today that the Turkish parliament will ratify Sweden’s bid to join NATO if the Biden administration paves the way for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

Speaking to reporters on his return flight from Azerbaijan, Erdogan said Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had discussed Sweden’s bid for NATO membership in New York last week. According to Turkish media, President Erdogan said: “If they keep their promise, our parliament will keep its promise.” Erdogan himself claims that it is the US government that is linking the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey to Ankara’s ratification of the Swedish bid.

The Turkish president added that the temporary resignation of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, who had opposed the sale of F-16s to Turkey in the US, after he was indicted on corruption charges, “gives Ankara an advantage”. Erdogan said that Menendez’s dismissal could be an opportunity to speed up the F-16 process, adding that they were now waiting for a clear answer from the US on the F-16 issue.

Erdogan also responded to questions about joint steps with Israel in energy drilling: “Europe, in particular, is looking for sustainable energy sources due to the conjuncture that arose after the Russia-Ukraine war. It is also known that Israel is looking for ways to transport its resources to Europe. The most rational way is to transport these resources to Europe through Turkey. We discussed this at our last meeting and started working on it.”

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