February 2, 2023
Two US Senators are asking President Joe Biden to link the issue of NATO enlargement with the request submitted by Turkey for the upgrade and purchase of new F-16 fighter jets.
In the letter authored by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican colleague Thom Tillis of North Carolina, the two politicians express their “intense concern” about the obstacles that Ankara has placed in the applications submitted by Sweden and Finland to join the Alliance.
“Failure by Turkey to uphold its commitments made under the trilateral Memorandum of Understanding with Finland and Sweden should be taken into consideration as Congress cannot consider future support for Turkey including F-16s sale, until Turkey ratifies banksnewscols,” the Senators state.
As of July 5, 2022, 28 of NATO’s 30 member countries have ratified the accession banksnewscols for Sweden and Finland, including the United States. Of the two remaining members of the alliance, Hungary has pledged to ratify the banksnewscols when its lawmakers reconvene in parliament in February 2023.
On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country looks positively on Finland’s application but does not support Sweden’s bid.
“Our position on Finland is positive, but it is not positive on Sweden,” he said in a speech to his AK Party deputies in parliament. Ankara wants Helsinki and Stockholm in particular to take a tougher line against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terror group by Turkey and the European Union, and another group it blames for a 2016 coup attempt.