Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with his US counterpart Antony Blinken in the capital Washington as part of his 3-day visit to the USA.
During the meeting within the scope of the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the Turkey-USA Strategic Mechanism, Ankara’s request for F-16 fighter jets and the NATO membership process of Sweden and Finland were the most important issues discussed. US President Joe Biden requested the US Congress to approve the sale of F-16s to Turkey last week. On the other hand, the meeting was closely followed by Greece, which requested F-35 fighter jets from the Biden administration.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half, Çavuşoğlu briefly said:
(NATO candidacy) “Everyone says that accelerating Sweden and Finland’s accession process to NATO will have a positive impact on Congress’ approval of the sale. Such a condition was never formally discussed during the F-16 negotiations. We say that these two issues are independent and continue in their own lane. With the understanding of ‘Turkey wants to buy an F-16, let’s do whatever we want’, these things will not work. Sweden and Finland have steps to take.
(F-16 sale) The important thing in the sale of the F-16 is the determination of the US administration. If the administration takes a strong stance against the blocking steps of members like Bob Menendez in Congress, this will be resolved. If the administration is determined on this issue, it should not waste such an agreement in the face of Congress’s obstruction, it will take the bypass step.
(Greece’s attitude) As Turkey, we do not look at which country sells what to whom. We do not look at what Greece is buying. Athens’ campaign to block the sale of the F-16 has once again strained our relations. We also reminded that the USA should act more balanced towards the two allied countries. We call on the United States to be balanced in Cyprus and Turkey-Greece relations.”
‘USA DAMAGED OUR CONFIDENCE IN SYRIA’
Explaining That They Made Mutual Offers With The USA on cooperation in Syria, Minister Çavuşoğlu said, “The USA does not even have a Syrian representative at the moment. Washington needs to pay more attention to the political process in Syria. The fact that the US did not keep some of its promises to Turkey, especially the Manbij Road Map, has damaged our confidence. We said that the weapon support to the YPG/PKK should be terminated,” he said.