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US senator says ‘will do all in my power’ to close F-16 sale after Turkey visit

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US Senator Lindsey Graham, who returned from a visit to Turkey over the weekend, has said he will do everything in his power to close the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara, The Hill reported on its news website.

Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said in a Twitter thread on Sunday that he had a “productive trip” to the country.

“While we have had a problematic relationship at times, it is imperative Turkey and the US take steps to strengthen the ties between our two nations,” the senator wrote on Twitter.

“I will do all in my power to support the Biden Administration’s decision to sell F-16s to the Turkish Air Force,” Graham added in the thread.

“These fighter jets, in the hands of our NATO allies, will create a sense of stability and provide capability to the Turkish military that is most definitely in America’s national security interests.”

US President Joe Biden signaled his support for the weaponry sale to Turkey in a statement on Thursday, expressing optimism that Congress will pass the measure.

Biden had met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the day prior but shut down the notion that the proposed deal was a “quid pro quo” for Turkey supporting Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the NATO military alliance.

There had been broad speculation since Turkey raised objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bids that the US would need to offer concessions in order to convince Turkey to back down.

Still, Biden and other administration officials disputed the notion there was a connection between plans for any jet sales and Turkey’s decision to drop its objections earlier this week.

“There was no quid pro quo with that. It’s just, we should sell,” Biden told reporters on Thursday. “I need congressional approval to be able to do that, and I think we can get that.”

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