Turkish-US negotiations on F-16 deal 'going well': Foreign minister

Negative atmosphere seen in Congress in years past has dissipated, says Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu.

Turkish-US negotiations on F-16 deal 'going well': Foreign minister

Despite challenges in ties, Türkiye’s top diplomat on Wednesday said that negotiations are "going well" with the US on a F-16 fighter jet deal.

"The F-16 negotiations are going well. The (US) administration's approach on negotiations is very positive," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview.

After its unfair suspension from the F-35 program, Türkiye has sought to broker a deal with the US for the sales of F-16s and upgrade kits for earlier models of the fighter jet.

To help address existing issues between the two countries such as US support for the terrorist group YPG/PKK, sanctions, and the extradition of the ringleader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a 2016 defeated coup, Cavusoglu said that a "strategic mechanism" has been established and that the first meeting at the ministerial level was already held in New York.

Cavusoglu also stressed that the "negative atmosphere" seen at the US Congress in recent years has dissipated.

"This (bilateral) cooperation also has strategic importance for NATO,” he said, as both countries have been alliance members for many decades.

“They are also aware of the role Türkiye has taken on recently, and let's hope this awareness is not a temporary one," Cavusoglu added, likely referring to Türkiye’s key role in brokering a recent deal on Ukrainian grain shipments.

Asked about a possible new operation against terror groups in northern Syria, Cavusoglu said preparations are continuing and that "a sudden move would come," echoing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s warning that such an operation will come unexpectedly.

On relations with Greece, he complained that Athens acts contrary to international law and violates basic human rights.

Due to its flouting of the rights of Greece’s Turkish Muslim minority, it has no say on the issue of human rights, he said.

Cavusoglu also stressed that Greece hosts terror suspects and allows PKK terror camps in its territories.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is PKK’s Syrian offshoot.