SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Time to lift ‘unjust’ sanctions on Turkiye’s defence industry, Erdogan tells Biden

It is time to lift all “unjust” sanctions on Turkey’s defence industry, the Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan, told US President, Joe Biden, in a phone call on Thursday, Reuters reports.

According to a statement from Erdogan’s office, he also told Biden that Turkey expected its request to purchase 40 new F-16 fighter jets and modernise its existing fleet to be finalised as soon as possible.

Ankara had initially ordered more than 100 F-35 jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N, but the US removed Turkey from the programme in 2019 after it acquired Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

Turkey has called the move unjust and demanded reimbursement for its $1.4 billion payment.

Reuters reported last year that Ankara had made a request to Washington to buy 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16s and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes.

Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s has also triggered US sanctions. In December 2020, Washington blacklisted Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate, its chief, Ismail Demir, and three other employees

The decades-old partnership between the NATO allies has gone through unprecedented tumult in recent years over disagreements on Syria policy, Ankara’s closer ties with Moscow, US charges against a state-owned Turkish bank and erosion of rights and freedoms in Turkey.

Washington has repeatedly warned Turkey against buying further Russian weaponry. Ankara has said it intends to go through with the purchase of a second batch of S-400s from Russia, a move that could worsen the diplomatic rift with the United States.

The request for the jets will likely have a difficult time getting approval from the US Congress, where sentiment towards Turkey has soured deeply over recent years.

Democratic and Republican US lawmakers urged the Biden administration in October not to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and said they were confident Congress would block any such exports.

    Source:
  • Arab News