March 15, 2023
US strives to strengthen relations with Türkiye: Austin
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin highlighted Washington’s intention to strengthen relations with Türkiye.
“We intend to do everything possible to keep it that way,” Austin told reporters in response to a question about Ankara’s request to purchase F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits for its existing fleet.
Austin declined to comment on any potential arms sales ahead of official congressional notification but emphasized that “Turkey remains a very valuable partner, and we’ll make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to strengthen our relationship.”
Türkiye, a fellow long-standing NATO member, requested in October 2021 to purchase 40 F-16 fighter jets, as well as 80 modernization kits for its existing planes.
The Biden administration informally notified Congress of its approval of the sale in January….
Speaking alongside Austin at the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley was asked about his recent visit to northeastern Syria, which strained ties between Washington and Ankara and prompted Türkiye to summon the U.S.’ envoy to discuss the general’s visit.
“My visit was nothing more than a routine troop visit to determine the task, purpose, mission, to go out and check on that, see how we’re doing and assess things like force protection,” he said. “We’ve got almost 1000 troops in Syria….”