WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey following the Turkish government's ratification this week of Sweden's membership in NATO. The move is a significant development in the expansion of the alliance, which has taken on additional importance since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The State Department notified Congress of its approval of the $23 billion F-16 sale to Turkey, along with a companion $8.6 billion sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to Greece, late Friday. The move came just hours after Turkey deposited its “instrument of ratification” for Sweden's accession to NATO with Washington, which is the repository for alliance documents and after several key members of Congress lifted their objections.
The sale to Turkey includes 40 new F-16s and equipment to modernize 79 of its existing F-16 fleet. The sale to Greece includes 40 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and related equipment.
NATO ally Turkey has long sought to upgrade its F-16 fleet and had made its ratification of Sweden's membership contingent on the approval of the sale of the new planes. The Biden administration had supported the sale, but several lawmakers had expressed objections due to human rights concerns.
Those objections, including from the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, have now been…