Türkiye expects ‘no turbulence’ in F-16 approval

In response to inquiries, sources said they “do not expect any negativity” in the approval of the F-16 sale despite a recent proposal by Republican Senator Rand Paul.


He introduced a draft resolution to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee aimed at blocking the sale of the fighter jets to Türkiye. However, sources and analysts downplayed the potential impact of the measure, highlighting that significant obstacles to the sale are not anticipated.

One critical aspect highlighted is the necessity for additional support within the Senate committee to advance the bill. Although former chairman Bob Menendez had expressed opposition to the sale, his successor, Ben Cardin, has openly approved it.

The absence of objections from the relevant committee of the House of Representatives bolsters expectations for the sale to proceed smoothly.

The Joe Biden administration formally told Congress about the proposed $23 billion sale on Jan. 25. The notification period, spanning 15 days, is set to conclude on Feb. 10.

The notification came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed off on Sweden’s accession to NATO – a development that caps off more than a year of negotiations.

The formal endorsement of Sweden’s membership by the Turkish parliament and Erdoğan’s subsequent decree were published in Türkiye’s official gazette on Jan. 25, marking the conclusion of the ratification process within the country.

Under the deal, Türkiye is slated to receive 40 new F-16s, along with upgrades to 79 of its existing fleet.

Erdoğan has long tied the ratification to Türkiye’s aspiration to procure F-16 fighter jets from the United States. The president also called on Canada and other NATO allies to lift arms embargoes imposed on Türkiye.

Türkiye’s pursuit of new fighter jets followed its expulsion from the U.S.-led F-35 joint strike fighter program in 2019 over its decision to acquire an advanced Russian missile defense system.

Sweden, along with Finland, abandoned its traditional position of military nonalignment to seek protection under NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Finland joined the alliance in April, becoming NATO’s 31st member after Türkiye ratified the Nordic country’s bid.