HomeWorldTurkey not in hurry to support Sweden's NATO bid, focusing on U.S.,...

Turkey not in hurry to support Sweden’s NATO bid, focusing on U.S., sources say.

Turkey Delays Sweden’s NATO Bid as It Seeks U.S. Support for F-16 Purchase

Turkey is willing to postpone the ratification of Sweden’s bid to join NATO as it waits for signs of U.S. support for its own request to purchase F-16 jets. This move could potentially disappoint bloc allies who have been hoping to end the 17-month delay. President Tayyip Erdogan had previously promised to send the bid to Turkey’s parliament for ratification in October, but the foreign affairs commission has yet to review it. Ankara wants to synchronize its actions with Washington, as the State Department is expected to seek congressional approval for a $20-billion sale of F-16 fighters to Turkey.

An official from Erdogan’s ruling AK Party stated, “Given the lack of trust over the issue of F-16s and Sweden, Turkey is not rushing to ratify the NATO bid and looking for a sign that the United States is taking steps at the same time.” Discussions between the U.S. and Turkey regarding the ratification of the NATO bid and the F-16s purchase have been delayed. However, the U.S. State Department expressed its anticipation for Sweden to join NATO soon and confirmed President Joe Biden’s support for the F-16s sale.

- Advertisement -

While Turkey is expected to eventually endorse Sweden’s bid, Erdogan is in no hurry due to recent events, including a bomb attack in Ankara and the downing of a Turkish drone by the United States. Turkey has raised concerns about Sweden’s alleged harboring of terrorists and has called for more action against the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkish Defence Minister Yasar Guler stated that Sweden needs to implement new counter-terrorism measures before ratification.

Erdogan has indicated a willingness to leverage Sweden’s ratification for the U.S. approval to upgrade Turkey’s F-16 fleet. However, recent developments, such as the bomb attack and escalating strikes on militant targets, have slowed down discussions on the proposed parallel actions between the U.S. and Turkey.

It is worth noting that the White House supports the sale of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-16s to Turkey, but objections in Congress over Turkey’s delay in NATO enlargement and its human rights record remain. Additionally, recent comments made by Erdogan regarding the U.S. aircraft carrier’s presence in the eastern Mediterranean during Israel’s conflict with Hamas have strained U.S.-Turkish relations.

Must Read