US Advances Lockheed Martin Jet Sales to Turkey and Greece Amid NATO Talks

Summary

  • A notification was advanced by the State Department to the effect of a potential sale of 40 Lockheed Martin F-16s and 80 modernization kits to Turkey.
  • This move was linked to Ankara’s full completion of ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership.
  • The Biden administration also forwarded a sale of 20 Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter jets to Greece, an $8.6 billion deal.
  • Turkey’s delay in approving Sweden’s NATO membership presented a significant hindrance to getting approval from Congress for the jet sale.
  • Following Turkey’s final approval of Sweden’s NATO membership, the State Department sent the notification.

Turkey’s Pending F-16 Sale

The State Department has forwarded a crucial notification for the sale of 40 Lockheed Martin F-16s along with 80 modernization kits to Turkey. This notification comes after Ankara finalized ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership, which is directly linked to the jet sales.

Greece’s Jet Sales and NATO Relations

The Biden administration has simultaneously favored the sale of 20 Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter Jets to Greece at an $8.6 billion deal. This is reportedly a move to maintain equilibrium between these two NATO allies given their historical strained relationships.

Delay in NATO Membership Approval

Turkey had initially requested the jet sale in October 2021. However, Ankara’s delay in nodding their approval to Sweden’s NATO bid hindered this process from receiving the necessary congressional approval.

With 20 months of stalled progress, the Turkish parliament eventually ratified Sweden’s NATO membership earlier this week.

Urging Sale Approval

On the heels of Sweden’s NATO membership ratification, President Joe Biden issued a letter encouraging congressional committee leaders to facilitate the F-16 sale quickly.

Remarkably, this notification from the State Department followed swiftly after Erdogan, the Turkish president, gave his final consent on Sweden’s NATO ratification.

The Call for Improved Human Rights

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has emphasized on the necessity for Turkey to enhance its human rights record and hold Russia accountable for its invasion in Ukraine.

Senator Cardin also added that his concerns had been communicated clearly to the Biden administration and showed support towards steps taken by the administration to address these issues with Turkish officials.

Foreseeing the Final Approval

After the State Department submits the official report, Congress has 15 days to express their opposition. Failure to do so will conclude the sale.

However, it is expected that this sale will not be obstructed by Congress, despite some members’ criticism of Turkey.

Given the described events, these transactions can adversely impact the forex market. Investors should watch the NYSE, especially focusing on Lockheed Martin stocks, along with monitoring diplomatic relationships in the NATO bloc.

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