US and Turkey’s defense secretaries discussed support for Turkish military modernization
Lloyd James Austin III, the United States Secretary of Defense, held a telephone conversation with Yaşar Güler, the Minister of National Defense of Turkey, to discuss Turkey’s military modernization.
According to a United States readout released late on Monday, Lloyd Austin discussed support for Turkey’s military modernization during a call with Yaşar Güler.
In 2021, Turkey requested to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16 fighters and 80 modernization kits for its warplanes from the United States. The request must be approved by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress.
During that time, Turkey also ordered 100 F-35 jets, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft made by Lockheed Martin Corp. However, it was removed from the program in 2019 by the United States Department of Defense because Turkey purchased a Russian missile defense system. Subsequently, Turkey termed the US move as “unilateral” and “unlawful”. Turkey repeatedly demanded a fair approach on the matter, and said that it was open to negotiations with Washington.
The US said that the S-400 air missile systems purchased by Turkey could be used by Russia to get important details about the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets. However, Turkey denied such claims.
Over the purchase of the S-400 air missile systems, the United States also blacklisted Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and Ismail Demir, the chairperson of the council.
According to the Pentagon, “Lloyd Austin and Yaşar Güler discussed the positive talks between Turkey, Sweden, and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, as well as the Department of Defense’s support for Turkey’s military modernization.”
Recently, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, agreed to support Sweden’s bid to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), an intergovernmental military alliance of countries from Europe and North America. Subsequently, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said, “I am very happy, it is a good day for Sweden.”