Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to use an upcoming global summit to lobby U.S. President Joe Biden to allow Ankara to buy dozens of American warplanes, in a bid to overcome Washington’s resistance to major arms deals with his country following its purchase of Russian air defenses, Al Jazeera reports.
Erdogan seeks Biden meeting to discuss US warplane request
STEPANAKERT, OCTOBER 12, ARTSAKHPRESS: Turkey sent a formal request to the U.S. on Sept. 30 to purchase 40 new F-16 Block 70 aircraft and nearly 80 kits from Lockheed Martin Corp. to modernize its existing F-16 fighters, two Turkish officials familiar with the matter said. The deal is potentially worth $6 billion, they said, but approval will be difficult to win, given Congress’s opposition to the Russian S-400 missile purchase and Turkey’s own uncompromising stance.
The Turkish officials said Erdogan expects to meet Biden during the Group of 20 nations summit in Rome at the end of this month, though no meeting has been announced and it’s unclear how willing Biden might be to entertain the weapons request. Turkey’s aim is to secure jets compatible with NATO, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss strategic matters.
A State Department spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, said the department doesn’t comment on proposed defense sales. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and the National Security Council referred questions to the State Department.
The Turkish president so far hasn’t signaled any progress toward resolving the clash with the U.S., which worries the S-400 could be used to collect intelligence on the stealth capabilities of the American F-35 fighter jet, which Turkish companies had helped to build and Ankara had planned to buy before the rift over the Russian missiles.
Washington has demanded that Ankara scrap the S-400 in return for the lifting of related U.S. sanctions, but Turkey has shown no inclination. The sanctions cut off Turkey’s top defense procurement agency from U.S. financial institutions, military hardware and technology. New export licenses to transfer American goods or technology to the agency have been banned.