WASHINGTON (AA) – The US said Wednesday that security cooperation with Türkiye is of “paramount importance” after lawmakers dropped provisions from the annual defense spending bill that made sales of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara contingent on a series of conditions.
Asked by reporters about the issue, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Türkiye is an “important NATO ally” and an “important security partner.”
“We want to ensure that our defense capabilities are integrated and that Turkey has what it needs to take on the formidable threats that it faces,” he said. “No NATO ally has faced more terrorist attacks on its soil than our Turkish allies.”
US cooperation with Türkiye in the security realm is of “paramount importance,” said Price, further emphasizing that this was also discussed by the Turkish and US presidents at NATO’s Madrid summit in June.
“It’s been a discussion at lower levels as well. It’s been a discussion that we’ve had with Congress,” he told reporters. “And of course, we have an ongoing dialogue with Congress on this very issue, but I just don’t have an update to offer publicly.
“We want to make sure that any decisions, any moves that are made are consistent with our national security interests and are consistent with the shared security objectives that we also have in common with our Turkish allies,” he added.
Amendments introduced in the US House of Representatives making sales of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions were removed in the final defense spending bill on Tuesday.
Ankara requested F-16s and modernization kits in October 2021. The $6 billion deal would include the sale of 40 jets, as well as modernization kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force already has in its inventory.