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Biden tells Erdogan to unblock Sweden's accession to NATO

May 30, 2023

US President Joe Biden said in a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he wants Ankara to drop its objections to Sweden's accession to NATO.

The US President was quoted by Reuters.

Biden called Erdogan to congratulate him on his victory in the Turkish presidential election on Sunday. According to Biden, in a conversation on Monday, Erdogan reiterated Ankara's desire to buy F-16 fighter jets from the United States.

"I spoke with Erdogan. I congratulated Erdogan. He still wants to work on something, on the F-16. I told him that we want to make a deal with Sweden, so let's do it. And we'll be in touch with each other again," Biden told reporters before leaving the White House for Delaware.


Asked whether he expected Erdogan to make any progress on Sweden's NATO membership, Biden said he had spoken to the Turkish president about it.

"I raised this issue with him. We'll talk more about it next week," he said.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership last year, but Turkey and Hungary have yet to approve Sweden's application.

Turkey had sought to buy $20 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits from the United States. But the deal has stalled due to objections from the US Congress, which does not like Ankara's refusal to agree to NATO expansion. The Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it supports the deal.

A much smaller military package worth $259 million, which includes avionics software upgrades for Turkey's current fleet of F-16 fighter jets, was approved by the US Congress earlier this year, days after Turkey ratified Finland's accession to NATO.

Author - Olena Madiak, 30/05/2023

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