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The U.S. is preparing to sell F-16s to Turkey as part of a small $259 million modernization package - a deal that received the "informal" approval of Congress on Monday. The package also includes avionics software enhancements and radar.
According to Ned Price, a State Department spokesperson, "Tukiye is a longstanding and valued NATO ally... The Biden Administration supports Türkiye’s efforts to bring the avionics of its F-16 fleet up to standard."
According to Price, the upgrade package would also further increase connectivity between NATO's military systems and Turkey and would offer improvements for safety protocols, including a ground collision avoidance system.
If the sale is ratified, it would be the first Congress-approved military sale to Turkey in years, according to a report by Zerohedge.
The current package is different from the request Turkey made in 2021 when it requested $20 billion worth of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets. That request was also to include 80 modernization kits.
The modernization package comes weeks after Turkey approved Finland's proposal to join the NATO military alliance. While Sweden and Finland initially attempted to join NATO jointly after Russia invaded Ukraine. Turkey, however, blocked the two countries from joining the alliance after Turkish President Reycep Tayyip Erdogan accused Stockholm and Helsinki of sheltering members of Kurdish separatists groups, such as the Kurdistan workers party (PKK), which Ankara considers to be terrorists and holds responsible for the Istanbul bombing that occurred in November 2022.
While Finland eventually broke away from Sweden and successfully gained its own entry into NATO, Turkey has continued to block Sweden's approval due to the nation's unwillingness to stop supporting Kurds and members of the PKK.
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