Türkiye tells US to uphold F-16 promises as Sweden edges closer to joining NATO

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, in a call on Dec. 27 that Türkiye expects the United States to keep its promises on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

The phone call came after the Turkish parliament's foreign affairs commission voted to ratify Sweden's bid for NATO membership a day earlier. However, the final ratification hinges on approval from the parliament's general assembly.

"Fidan stated that, regarding the sale of F-16s, we expect the U.S. administration and U.S. Congress to act in line with the spirit of alliance and keep the promises made," said diplomatic sources.

The commission's approval of Sweden's bid occurred during a session chaired by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Fuat Oktay. While AKP, its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) members voted in favor, İYİ (Good) Party members opposed, and Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM) members abstained. A timetable for the issue's presentation to the general assembly remains unannounced.

Both Sweden and Finland sought NATO membership last May following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Türkiye, citing concerns about ties to terrorist organizations and failure to extradite members of such groups, initially objected to both nations' bids. Finland, "having met obligations" outlined in the trilateral memorandum at the NATO summit in Madrid, secured approval from Ankara. However, Sweden faced prolonged objections until July, when Türkiye lifted its veto.

The commission's approval followed a previous phone call between Fidan and Blinken on Dec. 17 highlighting the "importance of ratifying Sweden's NATO accession as soon as possible," according to a readout...

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