Final US defence policy bill removes curbs on F-16 sale to Türkiye

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Annual defence budget bill removes articles submitted by House of Representatives that tied sale of fighter jets to Ankara with restrictive conditions, Anadolu Agency reports.

Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft in Balikesir, Turkiye on 22 May 2022.
(AA Archive)

Amendment introduced in US House of Representatives making F-16 sales to Türkiye contingent on series of conditions have been removed in the final defence spending bill, Anadolu Agency reported. 

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the US House and Senate said they had reached an agreement on an annual defence policy bill.

“We are pleased to announce we’ve come to a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on this year’s National Defense Authorization Act,” the Democratic chairmen and ranking Republicans on the House and Senate armed services committees said in a statement. 

The Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA,  is expected to pass the Senate and House of Representatives this month, and be sent to the White House for Biden to sign into law.

Türkiye has made a request in October to the United States to buy 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernisation kits for its existing warplanes. 

Washington has so far refrained from expressing any opinion on the sale, saying it needs to go through the standard arms sales process. But the Biden administration believes a potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye would be in line with US national security interests and would also serve NATO’s long-term unity, the State Department had said in a letter to Congress.

The sale of US weapons to NATO ally Türkiye became contentious after Ankara acquired Russian-made defence missile systems, triggering US sanctions as well as Türkiye’s removal from the F-35 fighter jet programme.

Türkiye says it chose to procure Russian defence systems after US failed to sell its Patriot missile systems to Ankara.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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