Officials from Turkey and the United States will meet this month to discuss F-16 sale to Ankara, even after the U.S. House recently voted to block the deal.
Defense minister of Turkey Hulusi Akar told government-owned Anadolu Agency that the two countries are holding a technical meeting on the F-16 deal on August 15. He claims Greece has attempted to dissuade the U.S. from selling the fighters, but it was unsuccessful.
The House had approved legislation that would block the F-16 sale to Ankara unless the administration certifies that doing so is essential to U.S. national security. It also includes a description of concrete steps taken to ensure they are not used for “unauthorized overflights” of Greece. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the bill, stating that his American counterpart Biden had not set out any conditions for the sale when the two met on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid last month.
Akar has also noted that Turkey is ready for both positive and negative outcomes of the negotiations. "Ankara hopes for a positive outcome of negotiations on the supply of F-16s. Otherwise, there are already many alternatives in the world. New solutions are not ruled out," he added.
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Last fall, Erdogan said that Washington had offered to supply Turkey with F-16s in exchange for its earlier investment in the F-35 program, from which Ankara was excluded after it acquired Russian S-400s. The U.S. has repeatedly expressed concern about Turkey's S-400 acquisition, as it believes Russia could use these air defense systems to obtain information about fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bombers.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had stated last week that F-16 negotiations were “going well despite challenges.”
“The F-16 negotiations are going well. The (U.S.) administration’s approach on negotiations is very positive,” Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview.