Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he urged U.S. President Joe Biden not to link the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey with Sweden’s NATO bid, during a pull-aside meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in India over the weekend.
Addressing a press conference after a G20 summit in the Indian capital New Delhi, Erdogan said he had a “pull-aside” meeting with Biden on the sidelines of the gathering and they discussed the transfer of F-16s to Turkey.
Biden made a connection between the supply of F-16s and Turkish action in ratifying Sweden’s application to join NATO, Erdogan said. “This approach seriously upsets us,” he said.
Turkey, which had been the main stumbling block in Sweden’s path towards NATO, asked in October 2021 to buy $20 billion worth of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-16s and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes.
After months of objections, Erdogan agreed at a NATO summit in July to forward Sweden’s NATO bid to the Turkish parliament for ratification.
A day later, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington would proceed with the transfer of F-16s to Turkey in consultation with Congress.