U.S. Approves Sale of F-16 Fighters to Turkey in Exchange for NATO Expansion Support
In a strategic move linked to NATO expansion, the United States Congress has approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey announced on Sunday.
This approval has been a key condition set by Ankara in return for its support of Sweden's bid to join NATO.
"The decision by Congress to approve the acquisition of 40 F-16 fighter jets and 79 modernization kits for Turkey represents a significant advancement," Ambassador Jeff Flake stated in a message posted on the X social network.
Previously stirring debate between Washington and Ankara, the sale, valued at $23 billion, received the U.S. government's green light on January 26, three days after Turkey ratified Sweden's NATO membership.
The U.S. Congress was informed of Turkey's request for the sale on the same day and was given a fifteen-day window to object to the transaction, a period which has now elapsed.
Before granting the permission, the U.S. waited for Turkey to deposit the ratified documents of Sweden's NATO membership in Washington.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made Sweden's accession to the Atlantic alliance conditional upon the simultaneous approval by the United States of the fighter jets sale.
The move is seen as a pivotal moment in U.S.-Turkey relations and NATO's bid to strengthen its eastern flank amid ongoing global security challenges.