Some US officials trying to set provisions for F-16 sales unlikely to be embraced by Ankara: Turkish lawmaker

Despite differences, both sides agree on need for US support to Türkiye as NATO ally, says Akif Cagatay Kilic.

Some US officials trying to set provisions for F-16 sales unlikely to be embraced by Ankara: Turkish lawmaker

The foreign relations committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives are working to set conditions that are unlikely to be embraced by Türkiye on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to the country, a Turkish official said on Wednesday. 

"On the sale of F-16 fighter jets, there have been efforts to lay down conditions that Türkiye is unlikely to embrace, particularly in the work of the foreign relations committees of the US Senate and the House of Representatives," Akif Cagatay Kilic, the head of the Foreign Affairs Commission of Türkiye's parliament.

"We openly stated that this is behavior that doesn't comply with international politics and the spirit of alliance," said Kilic.

A Turkish delegation led by Efkan Ala, Justice and Development (AK) Party deputy chair in charge of foreign affairs, paid a visit to Washington recently for talks with US officials on F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits sales to Türkiye.

Kilic was also part of the delegation, along with Osman Askin Bak, who heads the Turkish delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and lawmakers Volkan Bozkir and Mehdi Eker.

Some figures in the Congress, such as Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have been trying to stop the sales, said Kilic, adding: "But, I don't think (their efforts) will pay off."

"Congressional approval is required before reaching certain deals and purchases. In this context, we were there as a delegation to explain the issue first hand and make direct contacts."

Kilic said the delegation's second visit to the US was also productive and that the delegation met with members of Congress.

The delegation discussed regional and international issues, particularly F-16 fighter jets sales, while also making contacts as representatives of an active NATO ally and the alliance's second-largest military, he noted.

Many issues raised by the Turkish delegation were accepted by US officials, Kilic stressed.

Despite the differences of opinion on some issues, Kilic underlined that both sides agreed that Türkiye "should be seriously supported as a NATO ally" and is "currently the strongest country in the region."

During the talks, they also touched on the Black Sea grain corridor that opened thanks to Türkiye's efforts to eliminate risk of a food crisis due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as a recent prisoner swap deal between Moscow and Kyiv, realized as a result of diplomatic engagements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kilic said.

Greece's arming of eastern Aegean islands, in violation of their demilitarized status, was also on the agenda during the talks, he added.

"We've stated openly that the US provided some equipment in this sense, and Greece used them in the wrong places, contrary to international law, in violation of many international agreements."

Kilic also condemned recent derogatory remarks by German lawmaker Wolfgang Kubicki against Türkiye's president, saying that Ankara had conveyed that he should resign from his position as vice-speaker of Germany's Federal Parliament.

"His words towards our president cannot be accepted diplomatically, either," Kilic said.