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Akar, Austin discuss NATO expansion, regional security issues in phone call

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin have spoken over the phone and discussed NATO and the Black Sea grain deal.

Akar and Austin discussed Finland’s accession to NATO, bilateral and regional defence and security matters on Thursday, according to a Turkish National Defense Ministry statement.

“The importance of the rapid and positive conclusion of our country’s F-16 procurement and modernisation project was emphasised,” the statement said.

They also highlighted the importance of the extension of the Black Sea grain initiative.

The Turkish defence minister also noted that Ankara supports “NATO’s Open Door Policy, Finland’s membership shows this once again and it is hoped that Sweden will fulfil its commitments as soon as possible.”

Akar also thanked Austin for the support and solidarity shown by the US following the massive earthquakes that devastated Türkiye’s southern regions in February.

For his part, Austin expressed the US’ readiness to provide all kinds of support to Türkiye “to heal the wounds of the earthquake,” the statement said.

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