Germany Approves Sale of F-16 Fighter Jets to Turkey

The German government has given its approval for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. This decision comes after Turkey’s endorsement of Sweden’s NATO membership.

Government approves sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey

After Ankara’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership, the US government has approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Both sides used the arms deal as a bargaining chip in the dispute over Sweden’s admission to the alliance.

The US government has approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. The State Department in Washington announced that it had informed Congress of the decision.

According to the announcement, Turkey is set to receive 40 new F-16 fighter jets, as well as equipment to modernize 79 jets of the same type already in the possession of the Turkish military. The proposed arms deal has a value of $23 billion, approximately 21 billion euros, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). “This proposed sale will serve US foreign policy and national security interests by enhancing the air capabilities and interoperability of a NATO ally, which is a force for political and economic stability in Europe,” the DSCA said in a statement.

Bargaining chip in the dispute over Sweden’s NATO membership

Turkey has long pursued the modernization and expansion of its own fleet of fighter jets. In the dispute over its government’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also used the proposed sale by the US as a bargaining chip. US President Joe Biden, on the other hand, had repeatedly emphasized in the past that approval of the deal was contingent on Turkey giving the green light for Sweden’s admission as a new NATO member.

Sweden, like Finland, abandoned its decades-long policy of neutrality and applied for NATO membership following the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in 2022. Last spring, Turkey agreed to Finland’s accession, but Ankara blocked the ratification of Sweden’s membership for more than a year.

On Tuesday, the Turkish parliament approved Sweden’s accession to the alliance, and with Erdogan’s signature and its publication in the Official Gazette of the Turkish government, ratification was completed on Thursday evening. Hungary, as the last NATO member, still needs to approve the accession.

Doubts due to alleged human rights abuses

In the past, several US congressmen had justified their doubts about the arms deal with alleged human rights abuses in Turkey. According to reports from US government sources, these objections have now been resolved.

Among others, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Ben Cardin, repeatedly cited this argument. Even after approving the sale of the fighter jets, he still had concerns about the human rights situation in Turkey, Cardin said. However, he also voted in favor of the arms deal because the Turkish government had assured improvements in this area. “I look forward to starting this new chapter in our relationship with Turkey, expanding our NATO alliance, and working with our global partners to counter ongoing Russian aggression against its peaceful neighbors,” said a statement from the Democratic Senator.

One of the most advanced fighter jets in the world

The F-16 fighter jet is one of the most advanced military jets in the world and is used in over two dozen countries. The aircraft, manufactured by US company Lockheed Martin, can be used in air defense as well as against ground targets, to push back enemy forces. The F-16 is capable of flying at extremely low altitudes and in any weather conditions.

In addition to the sale of F-16 fighter jets, the US government has also approved the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Greece.