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Turkey in final steps of F-16 acquisition from US: defense ministry

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Turkey has signed agreements for the purchase of F-16 fighter jets from the United States, with work on the details ongoing, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced, Deutsche Welle’s Turkish edition reported on Thursday.

Ministry sources told reporters at a press briefing that contracts have been signed with US manufacturer Lockheed Martin and that discussions are continuing between representatives from Washington and Ankara. The information was shared following the ministry’s weekly press briefing.

“Contracts have been signed, and work on the details continues through bilateral meetings,” the ministry said. “Decisions on these details will be shared with the public once finalized.”

Turkey initially sought to purchase 40 new F-16 jets and kits to modernize existing aircraft in October 2021. The deal, valued at $23 billion, includes 80 modernization kits.

The lengthy negotiations were primarily due to objections from the US Congress. The sale was finally approved in January, following Turkey’s agreement on Sweden’s NATO accession. The US previously indicated the total sale price might be lower than the initial estimate.

The procurement of new F-16s became a priority for Turkey after its removal from the F-35 fighter jet program in 2020. This exclusion was a response to Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which violated the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The recent approval of Sweden’s NATO membership by Turkey has helped improve relations between Ankara and Washington, which had been strained over issues including US support for Kurdish fighters in Syria.

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