(Error corrected) Hakan Fidan meets Antony Blinken, hints  discussions underway for F-35 jet fighters

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken that the situation in Gaza is grave and requires urgent attention as he called for an immediate ceasefire and uninterrupted humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.  Fidan and Blinken also discussed the war in Ukraine, and US cooperation with Syria-based Kurdish PYD-YPG which Ankara considers an affiliate of terror organization PKK.  These are all outstanding issues with no hope of a break-through anytime soon.  However, Fidan told Turkish reporters  that Washington and Ankara were  engaged in discussions to  resolve Turkey’s demand for compensation for 4 F-35 jet fighters, which US is refusing to ship, because Turkey bought Russian-made S-400 anti-missile defense systems.


Fidan underlined the necessity to cooperate with the U.S. and other countries to ensure a ceasefire in Gaza and to provide uninterrupted humanitarian aid.

Many issues, such as Ukraine and Black Sea security, as well as the current state of NATO following Sweden’s membership were also discussed during the meeting.


Blinken, for his part, said that it remained up to Hamas to accept a ceasefire with Israel as hopes dimmed for a new truce in the five-month-old war.


“The issue is Hamas,” Blinken said, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden called in his State of the Union address for an “immediate” six-week truce that would allow humanitarian aid into war-ravaged Gaza and free hostages.


“The ball is in their court. We’re working intensely on it,” he said.


Blinken also thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fidan for the approval of Sweden’s NATO membership.


Fidan is currently on a two-day trip to the U.S. to engage in conversations with high-ranking U.S. officials regarding bilateral relations and regional and international matters, with a specific focus on the situation in Gaza.


During his visit to Washington to attend the seventh meeting of the Türkiye-U.S. Strategic Mechanism, Fidan also conferred with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Benjamin Cardin, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Phil Gordon, the National Security Advisor to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.


Additionally, Fidan addressed Türkiye’s request to rejoin the F-35 joint strike fighter program, from which it was expelled in 2019 following its acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

In January, then the third-highest ranking U.S. diplomat, Victoria Nuland, and White House spokesman John Kirby suggested that Ankara’s return to the F-35 program could be possible if concerns regarding the S-400 were addressed.


Ankara  refuses to ship out S-400s, but is interested in returning to the F-35 joint jet fighter program, because its rival Greece recently added them to its air force. So far no  compromise has been  reached, but  in his briefing to Turkish journalists Fidan said


Touching on the F-35 issue, Fidan said, “As you know, we were a part of this program regarding the F-35, and then there was an unfair removal from here, using the S-400 issues as an excuse. We maintain our position again, that is, what we have done is pay a deposit  for  planes ordered. Of course, Turkey is always ready to talk and discuss these issues with a broad mind and an open mind. At this stage, we believe that we can actually discuss these issues from a variety of perspectives. We think that America should also be open-minded on this issue.  Some exchanges of views  in this regard have taken place”.


Cryptic as it gets. Is Ankara biding her time to press the issue in case Trump returns to White House?


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.