Turkey’s Erdogan says US senators gave ‘positive’ feedback on F-16s

UNITED NATIONS: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters on Tuesday (Sep 20) that he has received “positive” feedback from two US senators he met in New York on their potential support for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to his government.

Turkey made a request in October to the United States to buy 40 Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.

Sentiment toward Turkey in the US Congress has turned sour over the past few years after Ankara acquired Russian-made defence missile systems, triggering US sanctions and Turkey’s removal from the F-35 fighter jet program.

That sentiment could derail the F-16 sale.

“They’re speaking positively,” Erdogan told Reuters at the United Nations before his meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Erdogan is attending the annual UN General Assembly (UNGA) of world leaders.

In recent days in New York, Erdogan met with US senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Coons.

Asked if he would meet US President Joe Biden, the Turkish leader said he will be attending a reception to be hosted by Biden.

No formal meeting is set for now, according to the official schedules of both presidents.