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HomeHeadlineErdogan Links Sweden's NATO Bid to U.S. F-16 Jet Approval

Erdogan Links Sweden’s NATO Bid to U.S. F-16 Jet Approval

ANKARA, Turkey – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey stated that his country’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership depends on the U.S. Congress agreeing to Turkey’s request for F-16 fighter jets. He also called for the lifting of arms embargoes by Canada and other NATO members.

Erdogan highlighted that Turkey’s positive stance towards Sweden’s NATO application hinges on the U.S. addressing the F-16 matter and Canada fulfilling its commitments. This connection was emphasized during Erdogan’s comments after his Hungary visit, where he met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Turkey and Hungary remain the only NATO countries yet to formally endorse Sweden’s NATO entry. Erdogan shared that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan discussed the possibility of simultaneous legislative approvals in Turkey and the U.S. with American Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The ratification process in Turkey, initiated in October, has stalled, with Erdogan linking progress to the U.S. Congress’s decision on Turkey’s F-16 acquisition request. Turkey has been delaying Sweden’s NATO membership for over a year, citing security concerns, particularly regarding Kurdish militants.

Other NATO allies have expressed frustration over the delays, as they quickly welcomed Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids following their shift from neutrality after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Hungary, meanwhile, assured it wouldn’t be the last to ratify the bid, though its ruling Fidesz party hasn’t scheduled a vote yet.

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