Title: President Erdogan Seeks to Capitalize on Legal Troubles of US Senator to Further Turkey’s Purchase of F-16 Fighter Jets
by Huseyin Hayatsever and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Edited by Jonathan Spicer
In a bid to further Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 US fighter jets, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has identified an opportunity within the legal troubles of US Senator Bob Menendez, a frequent critic of his government. Erdogan sees Menendez’s absence following the senator’s bribery charges as advantageous to his cause.
Senator Menendez has long been an opponent of the potential sale of F-16s to Turkey, citing concerns over Erdogan’s human rights record. Erdogan aims to utilize Menendez’s legal troubles not only to push for the F-16 purchase but also to address other issues where the senator and his allies have obstructed Turkey.
During a recent speech, Erdogan highlighted Turkey’s pending ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership bid, urging the White House to fulfill its promise on the F-16s. The Turkish president expects a clear response from the US regarding the sale and hopes for a positive outcome without further delays.
The link between the potential sale of F-16 fighter jets and Turkey’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership bid has been acknowledged by the Biden administration. Turkey has requested the purchase of 40 Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters along with 79 modernization kits for its existing warplanes. President Biden’s administration has expressed support for the $20-billion sale.
Erdogan emphasized that Turkey is willing to ratify Sweden’s bid if the US administration fulfills its promise on the F-16 sale. The Turkish government views the legal troubles faced by Senator Menendez as an opportunity to bolster its military capabilities and address longstanding disputes with the US.
As developments unfold regarding the potential F-16 sale and Turkey’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership bid, Erdogan seeks a favorable outcome to strengthen Turkey’s defense capabilities and improve its relationship with the US.
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