Wednesday, July 17, 2024

US says it ‘intends to move forward’ with transfer of F-16 jets to Turkey

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The US will switch F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in session with Congress, the US nationwide safety adviser mentioned on Tuesday, hours after Turkey’s president agreed to drop his veto on Sweden becoming a member of Nato.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s U-turn on Stockholm’s accession to the US-led army alliance — which adopted heavy lobbying from Washington and different western capitals — clears a significant headache for Nato because it beefs up its defences in response to Russia’s warfare in opposition to Ukraine.

US president Joe Biden “has positioned no caveats or circumstances on [the transfer] . . . and he intends to maneuver ahead with that switch in session with Congress”, nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned forward of a Nato summit assembly.

Biden administration officers have been cautious to not recommend any express hyperlink between the fighter jets and Sweden’s membership bid. However Ankara’s resolution to drop its opposition sends a powerful message to the US Congress, which should approve sending the F-16s, a transfer beforehand opposed by distinguished members.

Erdoğan relented on Sweden’s membership of the army alliance after a flurry of diplomatic efforts on Monday to unlock a deal. Nato, EU and US officers had sought to seek out methods to win over the Turkish president.

Biden spoke to Erdoğan on the best way to the Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday and is because of meet him in a while Tuesday on the sidelines. They mentioned “how the US and Turkey can transfer ahead positively” if Ankara had been to “make an enormous step” and greenlight Sweden’s bid, Sullivan mentioned.

The Turkish president then met Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson and Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, following a separate assembly with European Council president Charles Michel that centered on “re-energising” Turkey’s stalled EU membership course of.

Michel mentioned that whereas the processes had been completely separate, green-lighting Sweden’s entry to Nato would “create a very good ambiance amongst individuals who need to assist you to” in Brussels, in accordance with an individual briefed on the dialogue.

Bob Menendez, chair of the US Senate overseas relations committee who has been in opposition to the jet switch, signalled on Monday that he might drop his long-running opposition to the transfer amid discussions with the White Home.

“We’re having conversations with the administration,” Menendez advised Reuters. “If they will discover a method to make sure that Turkey’s aggression in opposition to its neighbours ceases, which there was a lull the final a number of months, that’s nice however there needs to be a everlasting actuality.”

Biden first supplied help to the concept of sending F-16s final yr after Finland and Sweden utilized to hitch Nato.

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