Tuesday, May 30, 2023
NATO accession for F-16 delivery Biden proposes Sweden deal to Erdogan
While Stockholm has to ask for an appointment in Ankara, US President Biden calls the Turkish President. The US wanted Sweden to join NATO, but Washington could grant Erdogan his wish for US fighter jets: “Let’s do it.”
US President Joe Biden has made a link between Turkey’s desire for American F16 fighter jets and the United States’ desire for Sweden to join NATO. Biden said in Washington that he made this clear in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after his re-election. “I spoke to Erdogan. I congratulated Erdogan,” said Biden. “He still wants to negotiate something about the F-16 jets. I told him we want to deal with Sweden, so let’s do that.”
The talks should continue in the coming week. Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO countries that are blocking the accession of the Scandinavian country to the defense alliance, which the other member states and Sweden want. As justification, Turkey had referred to opposition members living in Sweden, who the government in Ankara described as terrorists. For its part, Turkey is seeking a $20 billion purchase of US-made F16 fighter jets. Biden has endorsed the request. However, there is opposition in the US Congress.
Sweden’s foreign minister is put off
The Turkish President’s Office merely stated that the two presidents had expressed their willingness to intensify their cooperation in all bilateral matters during their telephone conversation. They agreed that this has become even more important in view of regional and global challenges.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström announced that he would shortly be speaking to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu about Sweden’s planned NATO membership. He contacted Cavusoglu to congratulate President Erdogan on his victory in the presidential election, he told broadcaster SVT. First, Billstrom had announced that he would meet his counterpart on Thursday at the meeting of the military alliance’s foreign ministers in Oslo. “However, we have been informed that the Turkish foreign minister is not coming, so there will be no meeting there,” said a spokesman for Billstrom, adding that the meeting would nevertheless take place “soon”.