WASHINGTON – The White House will seek congressional approval for a $20 billion sale of new F-16 jet fighters to Turkey along with a separate sale of next-generation F-35 warplanes to Greece, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The administration is using the argument that the prospect of the sale to Turkey will have the effect of leading her to sign off on Finland and Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which Ankara has blocked over objections to their ties to Kurdish separatist groups.
The sale to Turkey, the Journal reports, is larger than expected. It includes 40 new aircraft and kits to overhaul 79 of Turkey’s existing F-16 fleet.
The sale to Turkey also includes more than 900 air-to-air missiles and 800 bombs.
The separate sale to Greece, according to the Journal, which was requested by the Greek government in June 2022, includes at least 30 new F-35s. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the U.S.’s most advanced jet fighter. While officials described the timing of the notifications for both Turkey and Greece as coincidental, it could quell protests from Athens over the F-16 sale if its request is also granted, the Journal says.
The proposal also sets up a possible showdown with some congressional leaders who have vowed to oppose weapons sales to Turkey. Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said he wouldn’t approve any F-16 sale to Turkey, citing human-rights concerns.