Erdogan links Sweden's NATO accession to F-16 sale

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has hinted that the Turkish parliament will not proceed to ratify the Swedish accession to NATO unless the United States Congress takes action to approve the sale of 40 F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye.

"If you have your Congress, I have my parliament. You say, 'I will take a step on F-16s after the approval of the Congress.' And I have my parliament. It is not possible for me to take a step before the parliament approves [Swedish accession to NATO]," Erdoğan told reporters on his return from Athens on late Dec. 7.

The U.S. has signaled that it will not take an action on selling the 40 new F-16s to Türkiye before the latter greenlights the Swedish admission into the alliance. Erdoğan submitted Sweden's accession protocol to the Turkish parliament, but the Foreign Affairs Committee has not discussed it.

"If we are two allies at NATO, in the spirit of solidarity, you do your part, and our parliament will take the necessary step. That's it," Erdoğan stressed. Both the U.S. and Canada, which is restricting the sale of drone cameras to Türkiye, are insisting to see Sweden into the alliance before lifting these restrictions, the president said.

Erdoğan recalled that Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan went to Washington as part of the Contact Group with his counterparts from prominent regional countries. Fidan and the ministers will also go to Canada to hold talks about the continued offensive of the Israeli security forces into Gaza at the expense of claiming the lives of more than 16,000 civilians, mostly children and women.

"Our wish is to see the end of the pro-Israeli stance of the U.S. after what's happening in Gaza, as a result of [the visit] of the contact group," Erdoğan said, stressing this can help the...

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