By Chris King •
Updated: 26 Sep 2023 • 21:39
Image of F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 40 jet.
Credit: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/Commons Wikimedia Public Domain
TURKEY will let Sweden into NATO once they are allowed to buy F-16 fighter jets from the US.
Referring to the F-16 plan and Sweden’s application to join the Alliance, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is reported as stating this Tuesday, September 26: ‘If they fulfil their promises, our parliament will also fulfil its own and take its steps accordingly’
Pointing out that the Turkish parliament has the final say on Sweden’s NATO membership, Erdogan stressed: ‘When the issue comes to the agenda of parliament, we will see together what the decision will be’, according to aa.com.tr.
Speaking on the Presidential plane while returning from a visit to Azerbaijan, Erdogan told the news outlet: ‘Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will now follow this process closely’.
He continued: ‘In fact, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Hakan Fidan met in the US three or four days ago. These talks are still ongoing. But now, it would be beneficial to turn this situation into an opportunity and meet with him again’.
‘One of our chief hurdles on the F-16 issue were the activities of US Senator Bob Menendez against our country’, explained the president.
Referring to Menendez’s resignation last week from his position chairing the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Erdogan added: ‘We may have the opportunity to accelerate the process regarding the F-16s’.
Previously, the fighter jets and Sweden’s NATO application were two topics that the Turkish president always wanted to keep apart.
A little over two weeks ago, Erdogan wrote that Turkey was upset when people chose to connect the two. ‘Friends continue to bring up Sweden when it comes to the F16 issue. It really upsets us’, Erdogan said at the time.
Following a series of Koran burnings that occurred earlier this year in both Stockholm and then Copenhagen, President Erdogan had stalled on ratifying Sweden’s application to NATO.
However, during a meeting on July 10 in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, he reached a historic agreement with them.
He assured them he would forward the Scandinavian nation’s accession protocol to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly to ensure its ratification.
A list of demands had previously been placed on the Swedish government in Stockholm by officials in Ankara. These included the extradition of suspected terrorists that Turkey wanted to question in connection with a previous failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. Sweden was accused of giving safe haven to these people.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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