U.S. President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, May 29, congratulating him on his victory in the presidential election and offering the Turkish leader support for Sweden's accession to NATO in exchange for new F-16s.
Source. This was reported by Reuters.
Biden told reporters that Erdogan wants to buy F-16 fighters from the United States. The American president replied that this would be possible if Ankara withdrew its objections to Sweden's accession to NATO:
"I spoke with Erdogan. I congratulated Erdogan. He still wants to work on F-16s. I told him that we want to reach an agreement with Sweden, so let's do it. So, we will get back to each other."
Biden clarified that he was going to talk to Erdogan about this in more detail next week.
The White House has previously rejected any allegations of quid pro quo in the history of fighter jet sales and NATO expansion. In January, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the US side had made it clear that the approval of the NATO applications would be viewed positively by Congress.
Earlier, Turkey expressed a desire to purchase F-16 aircraft and modernization kits worth $20 billion from the United States.
The deal was frozen after the US Congress objected to Ankara's refusal to allow NATO expansion, as well as Turkey's human rights record and policy in Syria. At the same time, the Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it supports the sale of the F-16.
Finland, along with Sweden, applied for NATO membership after the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. On April 4, Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO, while Sweden's accession to the alliance is being hampered by Turkey, which demands that Stockholm extradite Kurdish refugees and Turkish oppositionists.