Türkiye on Wednesday hailed the recent US move to exclude certain provisions in the final text of the US defense budget on the sale of F-16s to Ankara. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Moldovan counterpart Nicu Popescu in Istanbul, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "In the end, the absence of a negative element (in the bill) is a positive development. We welcome this."
Amendments introduced in the US House of Representatives, making sales of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions were removed in the final defense spending bill. Approval of this bill and completion of purchases would serve "everyone's interest," Cavusoglu said, adding that the process needs to be finalized "as soon as possible."
The move came after two amendments introduced by Democratic senators, Bob Menendez and Chris Van Hollen, tying F-16 sales to Türkiye on some conditions were removed from the Senate version of the annual US defense spending bill. The amendments sought to impose several restrictions on the sale of F-16s and modernization kits to Türkiye, including not to use the fighter jets to violate Greek airspace and requiring the Biden administration to certify that the sale would be in national interest.
After the Senate passes the National Defense Authorization Act, it will be made into a joint text with a previous version passed within the House of Representatives before it is sent to President Joe Biden's desk to be signed into law.