U.S. says to move forward with transfer of F-16 jets to Turkey
VILNIUS (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will move forward with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in consultation with Congress, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of a summit of NATO leaders due to start later in the day in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Sullivan said President Joe Biden “had been clear that he supports the transfer”.
“He has placed no caveats on this … He intends to move forward with that transfer,” he said.
Sullivan did not give any details on the timing.
Late on Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to forward to parliament Sweden’s bid to become a member of the NATO military alliance, following months of pressure by the United States and its allies.
Some NATO partners believe that Turkey, which requested in October 2021 to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes, has been using Swedish membership to pressure Washington on the warplanes.
Sullivan also said NATO allies will make a “united, positive signal” on Ukraine’s path towards membership in the alliance during the summit, a main topic of discussion in Vilnius.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Justyna Pawlak; editing by John Irish)