Biden wants to sell F-16s to Turkey, but will Congress let him?

Briefly: US President Joe Biden will seek Congressional approval for a major arms sale to Turkey involving 40 F-16 fighter jets. Turkey first requested the upgraded jets in October 2021, but Turkey’s acquisition of a Russian air defence system put the kibosh on negotiations.

Intrigue’s take: While President Biden insists that the jets are not part of a quid-pro-quo, it’s hard not to see the F-16s as pawns in a larger game of diplomacy. For example, the US has openly said Sweden and Finland are ready to join NATO, but both countries require Turkey’s approval before they can join NATO.

Getting the deal through Congress won’t be easy. US Senator Bob Menendez has vowed to block the sale until Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “ceases his threats, improves his human rights record at home […] and begins to act like a trusted ally”.

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