Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now makes Sweden’s ratification of NATO accession dependent on fighter jets from the US. If the US government does its part ‘simultaneously and in solidarity’, the parliament in Ankara will do the same.
The US government had previously announced that it would take no action on the matter until Congress approved the F16 fighter jets for Turkey. These are intended to modernize the air force. In principle, the US government has expressed openness to selling fighter jets for $20 billion. However, several MPs expressed concern about the human rights situation in Turkey and tensions with NATO partner Greece.
Another potential for conflict between the US and Turkish governments lies in US support for Israel in its war against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Kurdish groups in Syria. The US has also supported the Kurdish militia YPG in its fight against the jihadist militia IS. However, the Turkish government considers it a partner organization of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it persecutes.
It was announced on Friday that Erdogan would only agree to Sweden’s accession to NATO if the US government sold F16 fighter jets. The Turkish government has been postponing the Northern European country’s accession to NATO for months. In July, Erdogan gave his word at the July summit that Sweden could join, but the application has still not been ratified.
Hungary’s approval is also pending
The country also lacks Hungary’s consent to join the military alliance. Traditionally non-aligned Sweden and neighboring Finland had already applied for NATO membership in May last year. This is a response to the war in Ukraine. Finland joined the military alliance in April.
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