Can F-16 sale signal a new era in Turkish-US relations?

|
The US’ approval of the long-stalled sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye shortly after …
  • Following Türkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership in the Turkish Parliament, the U.S. State Department notified Congress of a $23 billion (TL 698.52 billion) sale of fighter jets to Türkiye and an $8.6 billion sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to Greece, another ally in the NATO. The sale to Türkiye includes 40 Lockheed Martin F-16s and equipment to modernize the existing fleet of 79 F-16s. Greece will receive 40 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and related equipment.
  • As the municipal election campaign gained momentum with the unveiling of mayoral candidates and the fine-tuning of their campaigns, two major developments took place in foreign policy: the Turkish Parliament’s approval of Sweden’s NATO admission on Tuesday and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to the Turkish capital, where Türkiye and Iran signed 10 agreements.
  • After Sweden's NATO membership was approved in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), reports emerged that President Biden sent a letter to Congress seeking approval for the sale of F-16s. These developments indicate that we are nearing the conclusion of the long-debated F-16 issue. If the sale goes through, it could somewhat alleviate the deep-seated distrust that has plagued Turkish-American relations for some time. This distrust has made what should have been a routine arms deal between two NATO allies such a contentious process. Overcoming this hurdle would be beneficial for both countries, but it's still too early to declare the start of a new era. The potential sale of F-16s could pave the way for a new chapter by reducing mutual distrust.

Bu Konuda Daha Fazla

  • The Turkish national defense minister affirmed Wednesday the ongoing commitment of Türkiye to revitalize the Black Sea Grain deal.

  • The Turkish national defense minister said Wednesday that Türkiye was monitoring the process of requesting the purchase of F-16 fighter jets from the United States, noting they were expecting to see concrete steps regarding the process "as soon as possible." Addressing negotiations with the U.S., Yaşar Güler urged the correction of attitudes and approaches that directly affect Türkiye's national security.

  • As uncertainty, competition and conflict gain momentum within the international system, Türkiye engages in diplomacy to play a more defining role in global and regional crises.

  • Describing 2023 as a relatively quiet year for Turkish foreign policy would exclude the events of Oct. 7 and their aftermath. The trend of normalization, ongoing since the general elections in May, played a pivotal role in determining the overarching course of foreign policy. Despite unresolved issues, emphasis was placed on minimizing potential conflicts and prioritizing common interests. In the post-election period, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opted for a regional foreign policy centered on Gulf country relations, making the economy a primary focus. To mitigate security risks from Syria, ministerial-level talks with the Assad regime were initiated. Noteworthy strides were made in normalizing relations with Israel and Egypt. Erdoğan’s robust support for Azerbaijan in liberating Karabakh bolstered Türkiye’s status as a geopolitical player in 2023.

  • "There is no problem that cannot be solved between us," Erdogan told reporters as he met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens on Thursday, adding that he wanted to turn "the Aegean into a sea of peace and cooperation".