United States (US) Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, known for his anti-Türkiye rhetoric, is considered to be the most important obstacle regarding the F-16 aircraft that Türkiye has paid for but has not received.The prosecution of Bob Menendez and his Armenian wife Nadine Arslanian and Menendez's dismissal from office are considered as a situation against Türkiye.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan answered journalists' questions on his return from Nakhchivan. He frankly expressed the difficulties experienced in the sale and modernisation of F-16 fighter jets from the United States to Türkiye. President Erdogan cited United States Senator Bob Menendez, who temporarily resigned from his post due to the corruption indictment, as an important obstacle.
President Erdogan expressed his concerns and expectations regarding the F-16 issue and emphasised the importance of Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan following the situation closely, especially in light of the meetings between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Minister Fidan in the US a few days ago. President Erdogan stated that he could accelerate the delivery of F-16s if Bob Menendez resigns.
"Menendez and those of his mentality are carrying out obstructive activities against us. Menendez's resignation gives us an advantage, but the F-16 issue is not only a Menendez issue," President Erdogan added.
President Erdogan expressed optimism about turning Bob Menendez's crisis into an opportunity for Türkiye, noting that further dialogue with Senator Menendez could potentially accelerate the F-16 process. However, he underlined that the problem goes beyond Senator Menendez, as others with a similar mindset are also blocking progress on various fronts. Stating that Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is dealing with this issue.
"We hope that we will get the positive result we expect without much delay," President Erdogan said,
Comparing the F-16 crisis to the Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) issue, Erdoğan stated that they produced their own unmanned aerial vehicles after they could not buy the Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. He stated that these crises made him ambitious for the production of their own fighter aircraft KAAN.