F-16 upgrades denied for Turkey if it prevents Sweden and Finland from joining NATO

Senators and the Biden administration continue to flex military aid and armaments to build the NATO coalition.

Turkey’s hopes of securing new F-16s from the U.S. ought to be tied to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s openness to including Sweden and Finland in NATO, a bipartisan group of Senators argued Thursday.

Making headlines: As the war in Ukraine continues, Sweden and Finland send their bid to join NATO, however Turkey is halting the process. Now, in order to ratify Sweden and Finland into NATO, Biden is being pressured to deny F-16 upgrades to Turkey unless they begin their ratification of these nations’ accessions.


  • On Thursday, Sen. Jeanne Sheheen (D-N.H.) and Thom Tillis (R.N.C.), who are co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, drafted a letter to the president sharing that “Congress cannot consider future support for Türkiye, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets, until Türkiye completes ratification of the accession protocols.” This letter was followed with 25 fellow colleagues supporting this decision.
  • The only two nations that remain to ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s accessions among the 30 members of NATO are Turkey and Hungary. Within the coming month Budapest will begin their ratifying process for these nations. While Turkey is in favor of ratifying Finland’s bid, they remain to hold their ground to not ratify Sweden’s.
  • The Biden administration supplying Turkey with F-16 is improbable as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) shares his opposition for these sales despite not signing the letter to Biden. Turkey has been made aware by the Biden administration that Congress will not allow F-16s to be upgraded as well as further sales to be halted unless Ankara ratifies Sweden’s and Finland’s bid to join NATO.

A look on both sides: Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland reassured that the administration has made it clear to Turkey that if they do not ratify both nations F-16 upgrades will not happen nor will any additional sales of these fighter jets. Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a statement sharing his opposition for Sweden as Stockholm fails to enforce penalties after one Danish politician burned the Quran in protest.

  • “We have made the same point to our Turkish allies … that we need this Congress’s support moving forward for the security enhancements that we think that they need, as allies, F16s, some of them are old, but that this Congress is likely to look far more favorably on that after ratification,” shares Nulan.
  • “It is clear that those who allowed such vileness to take place in front of our embassy can no longer expect any charity from us regarding their NATO membership application,” said Erdoğan in a speech addressing the recent protests. “Our position on Finland is positive, but it is not positive on Sweden.”

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