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Politics

Greece’s Worries Set Aside, Turkey Will Get More F-16 Fighter Jets 

WASHINGTON – The US State Department said that Turkey has signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, setting aside Greek worries they could be used in a conflict between the countries.

That will complete US President Joe Biden’s promise that Turkey would get the jets in return for not blocking the entrance of Finland and Sweden into NATO, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used as a bargaining chip.

Erdogan also wants US-made F-35 fighter jets that had been denied Turkey over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems that undermine the security of NATO and could also be used against Greece.

Erdogan has been able to get most of what he wants while Greece – which renewed a military cooperation deal with the US and is allowing a greater American military presence in the country has seen its reservations about Turkey set aside.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller defended the deal and said, “The sale is an investment in NATO interoperability and will support the national security interests of the United States, Turkey, and the NATO Alliance.”

The US Ambassador to Turkey, Jeff Flake, also lauded the agreement that saw Erdogan triumph in his push to get the jets over the complaints of the Hellenic Caucus in Congress and critics who said Turkey didn’t deserve them.

Erdogan also said Turkey would not abide by any conditions limiting their use, opening the possibility the new jets could be used to violate Greek airspace if a detente between the countries breaks down.

Flake said, “Today marks an important step forward in Türkiye’s purchase of the latest-generation F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16s,” further empowering Turkey’s Air Force.

“This is good for US national security, Turkish national security, and NATO interoperability,” he added, without mentioning Greece’s anxiety about the purchase and how the jets could be used.

“US proud to announce today a major step forward in Turkey’s purchase of new F-16 Block 70 fighter jets – the most advanced F-16 ever made, available only to closest Allies and partners,” the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs posted on X. “Just the latest example of US enduring commitment to security partnership with Turkey,” the post added. There was no immediate government from Greece’s New Democracy government.

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