General

There is planning of Swedish defense minister’s visit to Türkiye: Defense chief

There is a planning of Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson's visit to Türkiye, Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.

"There is a planning. We are following the process. It will be determined according to the developments," Akar told the reporters at the parliament in the capital Ankara.

Türkiye called on Sweden to take steps against terror groups after last week's demonstration in the capital Stockholm, where supporters of the PKK terrorist organization hung in effigy by the feet a figure of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then uploaded footage of the provocation along with threats against Türkiye and Erdogan, complete with Turkish subtitles.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, abandoning decades of military non-alignment, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24.

But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terror groups, including the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

Last June, Türkiye and the two Nordic countries signed a memorandum at a NATO summit to address Ankara's legitimate security concerns, paving the way for their eventual membership in the alliance.

Akar said Türkiye supports the open door policy of NATO, adding: "We expect Sweden and Finland to fulfill their commitments in the memorandum as soon as possible."

F-16 fighter jets talks with US

Akar said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is currently in Washington, will discuss the F-16 fighter jets sale to Türkiye with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"At the point we have reached, we follow that the issue is progressing in a positive way. We get the necessary information. Our close cooperation with the US Secretary of Defense continues.

"In the inter-delegation and bilateral meetings, we expressed that we expect positive and concrete results as soon as possible," he added.

Türkiye hailed the recent US move to exclude certain provisions in the final text of the US defense budget on the sale of F-16s to Ankara. Amendments introduced in the US House of Representatives, as well as making sales of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye contingent on a series of conditions, were removed in the final defense spending bill.

Ankara requested F-16s and modernization kits in October 2021. The $6-billion deal would include the sale of 40 jets, as well as modernization kits for 79 warplanes that the Turkish Air Force already has in its inventory.

About his recent visit to the UK, Akar said he had "positive and constructive" bilateral and inter-delegation meetings.

"We continue our efforts to cooperate in the defense industry, military education cooperation, and many other fields. We expect positive results from there as well," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency