Speaking to reporters about America’s enhanced force posture in Europe (more on that below), Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs CELESTE WALLANDER said the Pentagon “fully supports Turkey’s modernization plans for its F-16 fleet,” which would amount to a $6 billion purchase of 40 Block 70 F-16 warplanes and about 80 Lockheed Martin modernization kits.
The timing of the statement was curious, coming so shortly after Turkey ended its threats to block Sweden and Finland from joining NATO. But a senior administration official strongly denied any linkages: “[I]f the United States had gotten into the role of broker, then the question of what the U.S. itself was putting on the table would have become front and center.”
Others NatSec Daily spoke to back the official’s account, saying there was never an explicit quid pro quo. Instead, there seemed to be a quiet understanding that if Turkey voted to let Sweden and Finland into the NATO club, then the relationship with the U.S. would improve, thus increasing the chances of a completed F-16 agreement. Nothing was said directly — it didn’t have to be, we’re told…
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