Biden sends letter to key lawmakers urging Congress to 'proceed with' F-16 sale to Türkiye

Biden sends letter to key lawmakers urging Congress to 'proceed with' F-16 sale to Türkiye

US president welcomes Turkish parliament's ratification of Sweden's NATO bid, tells lawmakers he 'intends to formally notify Congress of the sale of F-16s to Türkiye as soon as this process is complete'

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - President Joe Biden has sent a letter to the top lawmakers on the House and Senate foreign relations committees, urging Congress to proceed with a pending F-16 sale to Türkiye "without delay," a US official told Anadolu on Wednesday.

The letter welcomed "the Turkish parliament’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession protocols” and informed the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Biden administration "intends to formally notify Congress of the sale of F-16s to Türkiye as soon as this process is complete," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"The president urged Congress to proceed with the F-16 sale without delay," he added.

The Turkish parliament overwhelmingly ratified Sweden's NATO membership in a 287 to 55 vote on Tuesday. Hungary is now the only NATO member state that has not signed off on Sweden's entry into the alliance.

Finland and Sweden – both Nordic countries close to or bordering Russia – applied for NATO membership soon after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Finland became NATO's 31st ally in April 2023 following approval from all of the alliance's legislatures.

Following the Turkish parliament's approval, a National Security Council spokesperson told Anadolu that Biden continues to support the sale of F-16s and their modernization kits to Ankara, saying it "would help facilitate NATO interoperability and is in the US national interest."

Türkiye submitted a letter of request in October 2021 to purchase 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and 79 modernization kits from the US.

The Biden administration informally notified Congress of the sale last January, and a tiered review process was initiated to start negotiations with Congress.

Key lawmakers in Congress have tied the F-16 sale to Türkiye's approval of Sweden's NATO accession bid.

Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday he was "pleased" with the Turkish parliament's approval.

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