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US Secretary of State Blinken says Türkiye ‘should get’ F-16s

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said Türkiye “should get” the upgraded F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits.

Testifying before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken was asked about the sale of F-16 jets to Türkiye and the steps the Joe Biden administration is taking to “ensure that American weapons are not used to threaten allies and partners”.

“We believe that Turkey should get the upgraded F-16 and the modernization package for the existing F-16,” he responded. “We think it’s important to NATO, important to the alliance.”

“At the same time, we are working assiduously to try to ensure that any tensions that exist between NATO allies, in this case Greece and Turkey, are abated and that they do not engage in either actions or rhetoric that would inflame the situation,” he added.

“The focus of our efforts, whether it’s with Turkey, whether it’s with Greece, whether it’s with any other NATO ally, is to make sure that they have the equipment and technology that they need to be fully interoperable with,” he said, adding: “At the same time, of course, ensuring that to the extent there any disputes between them, that any equipment or technology we provide is not used in furtherance of those differences for those disputes.”

Ankara and Washington negotiated the sale of 40 new F-16 jets and 79 modernization kits, and the process is awaiting the approval of the US Congress.

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