September 27, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The United States offered Turkey to give the old F-16s to Ukraine in exchange for the supply of new fighters

The United States offered Turkey to transfer obsolete F-16 Block-30 fighter jets to Ukraine, in return announced the possibility of supplying kits for the modernization of the F-16, and selling 40 new F-16s to Ankara. Greece categorically did not like this option.

New Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had a telephone conversation with his American counterpart Anthony Blinken. The conversation between the two high-ranking officials took place a few days after Joe Biden’s conversation with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Anthony Blinken and Hakan Fidan reportedly discussed Sweden’s NATO membership, which Washington says should be completed by the NATO summit in July. Among the issues discussed was the purchase and modernization of the F-16 fighter jets that Ankara wants, as well as an agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain.

TV network Haberturk published a script about a possible US proposal on the F-16 issue. Haberturk analyst Setinar Cetin argues that Washington could agree to provide F-16 upgrade kits, as well as the sale of 40 new F-16s, but on the condition that Turkey transfers old F-16 fighters in service with that country to Ukraine.

The F-16 Block-30s operated by the Turkish Air Force will not be upgraded and are expected to be retired in the next few years. However, the Turkish government maintains that the issue of fighter jets is not a matter of negotiation, but Turkey’s right as a NATO member, and emphasizes that Ankara has already been excluded from the F-35 joint production program, and the possibility of being excluded from the F-16 program could lead to other alternatives.

Military analysts rule out the possibility of handing over Turkish fighter jets to Ukraine as this would affect the good relationship that Tayyip Erdogan maintains with Vladimir Putin.

Surprisingly, Turkish Airlines has announced that it will decide on a future purchase of 600 passenger aircraft in the next two months and will negotiate with Boeing and Airbus. Analysts in the neighboring country say the purchase could be a good trump card for Ankara to get congressional approval to upgrade its F-16 fighter jets.

Kathimerini reports that the Greek diaspora in the United States continues to work feverishly in the name of Greek interests and doubts the inevitability of the sale of F-16 fighters to Turkey, even if Ankara ratifies Sweden’s NATO membership. Recall that, in addition to the initiative of Senator Bob Menendez, there are other initiatives in the US Senate against Turkish ambitions. “If they want, let them cancel the casus belli in the Aegean and stop challenging Greek sovereignty at the UN,” Greek American Leadership Council (HALC) executive director Eddie Zemenides said recently, noting that Menendez and fellow party members will continue to blockade F-16 supplies. unless Turkey backs down.

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