WASHINGTON (AA) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday that Türkiye’s request for F-16 fighter jets and Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids are “not related.”
Speaking to reporters following a meeting with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, Cavusoglu said the US Congress should not portray these separate issues as related.
“We say that these two different issues should not be related to each other,” he stressed.
He added that Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids were never raised as a “precondition” in the F-16 sales process.
If the (Biden) administration stands firm, this issue will be resolved, Cavusoglu said.
Last October, Ankara made a request to Washington for 40 F-16 jets and modernization kits. The State Department last week informally notified Congress of the potential sale.
Calling his meeting with Blinken “fruitful,” Cavusoglu said Türkiye proposed that the US hold “Türkiye-US Strategic Mechanism” meetings at least twice a year.
He said he also invited Blinken to visit Türkiye and attend the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in March.
Asked about the sale of F-35 jets to Greece, the Turkish foreign minister said the US policy of balance between Türkiye and Greece has “deteriorated.”
Recalling the decision by the US to lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration, he said: “Greek Cypriots will be able to buy weapons from the US. Against whom will it buy? Against the Turkish Cypriots, against Türkiye.”
Cavusoglu met Wednesday in Washington, D.C. with Blinken to discuss bilateral relations, the sale of F-16 fighter jets and regional issues.
The two top diplomats sat down together in the US capital as part of Türkiye-US Strategic Mechanism meetings.
The mechanism was launched last April following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome.
Turkish-US relations have been strained in recent years due to US support for the YPG/PKK in northern Syria and disagreements over Türkiye’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system in 2017.
In 2019, under then-President Donald Trump, the US removed Türkiye from the F-35 joint strike fighter program over Ankara’s purchase of an S-400. Ankara has repeatedly underlined that the S-400 poses no risk to the F-35s.