The geopolitical chessboard of F-16s, F-35s, and Sweden’s NATO bid

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (l) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (r) 'celebrated the special quality of their relations in Crete, while the tone between Ankara and Washington has become increasingly strained,' says the author. [Dimitris Papamitsos/Prime Minister's Press Office/via Intime News]

Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed in principle to enlargement at the NATO summit in Vilnius last July, we have witnessed a political back-and-forth on the Swedish issue reminiscent of the hustle and bustle of an oriental bazaar. It is no longer about the Scandinavian country; Ankara is employing its veto power as a bargaining chip in the struggle for arms supplies from the US. Specifically, it concerns the procurement of 40 ultra-modern F-16 fighter jets and 80 modernization packages for outdated aircraft in the Turkish arsenal.

Despite initial hesitation, the Biden administration favors the arms deal with the Turks, yet the transaction faces bipartisan opposition in both houses of Congress.

"The United States' positive stance on the F-16 issue will accelerate our parliament's favorable view [on Swedish membership]," the Turkish president articulated...

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