Turkey once again asked the United States to settle the deal to buy F-16 fighters, which stalled about 5 years ago, due to Ankara's purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. What is the secret of the Turkish government's interest in obtaining American fighters, which sparked controversy over it in the past days? ?
Although the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, informed his US counterpart, Anthony Blinken, yesterday, Wednesday, that his country's abandonment of its objection to Sweden and Finland joining NATO should not be a precondition for the sale of F-16 fighters.
However, the Turkish side's refusal of both countries' accession to NATO months ago "contributed to the return of discussions between the Turkish and American sides about these fighters," according to what military experts describe.
Political and security analyst Aaron Stein, chief content officer at Wars on rocks, an American website specializing in security affairs, revealed the reasons why Turkey should acquire F-16 fighters in a planned $20 billion deal.
Stein told Al-Arabiya.net, "The Turkish side would like to obtain this type of fighter because the ones available to the Turkish army are outdated and it needs new and alternative aircraft today, after using the F-16 for decades."
He also added that "purchasing new aircraft of this type for the Turkish army is the most reasonable option to continue after it obtained them for the first time in the early eighties of the last century and made modifications in some of their parts later, but the decision to obtain them is not up to the US State Department at the present time. It is in the hands of Congress."
F-16 fighters (AFP)
A forgotten deal
He added, "The only party that can allow this deal to take place is the Congress, but it has not yet announced that it will do so as a result of disagreements with Turkey related to NATO, and for other reasons, including the S-400 deal, tensions between Turkey and Greece, and Turkish policies towards Syria."
The American analyst ruled out any rapprochement between the Turkish and American sides "in the short term" regarding the F-16 fighter jet deal, hinting that "this deal may become forgotten despite the discussions about it between the two sides."
And the Turkish Foreign Minister had told reporters yesterday, Wednesday, that his country had urged President Joe Biden's administration to be decisive about its endeavor to sell F-16 warplanes to Ankara and persuade Congress to drop its opposition to that deal.
He also added, after his meeting with Blinken, in statements reported by the official Turkish channel "TRT", that it is important to know whether the administration will be decisive or not, explaining that if it expresses a strong position against any steps to prevent the deal, then there will be a problem.
"The administration should not squander such an important deal between two allies just because one person or a few people object to it. It should not acquiesce," Cavusoglu said.
The Biden administration had previously announced its support for the sale of aircraft to Turkey, despite the opposition of Congress, as part of the administration's efforts to preserve NATO unity in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.