(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. has not made any financing offers on Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 warplanes, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday, adding that the Defense Department remains in consultations with Turkey on a blocked order of F-35 warplanes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said that the U.S. has offered Turkey a fleet of upgraded F-16 fighter jets in reimbursement for the $1.4 billion payment it made to procure F-35 jets.
The U.S. barred Turkey from purchasing and developing the F-35s over its purchase of Russian air defenses. Turkey, a NATO ally, went ahead with the purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system despite U.S. concern that it could be used to collect intelligence on the F-35’s stealth capabilities.
Turkey said it sent a formal request to the U.S. on Sept. 30 to purchase 40 new F-16 Block 70 aircraft and nearly 80 kits from Lockheed Martin Corp. to modernize its existing F-16 fighters. The deal is potentially worth $6 billion but its approval will be difficult to win, given Congress’s opposition to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system. Turkey has so far refused to jettison the missile defenses as demanded by Washington.
Erdogan Seeks Biden Meeting to Talk $6 Billion Arms Deal Request
“The Department of Defense does remain in consultations with Turkey on the F-35 program,” Price said in response to a question over Erdogan’s claim that the U.S. made the proposal for the sale of F-16s. “How that dispute may be resolved, I’m not in a position to speak to that dialogue what – but to be clear, we have not made any financing offers on Turkey’s F-16 request.”
Erdogan is hoping to meet U.S. President Joe Biden during the Group of 20 nations summit in Rome at the end of this month. No meeting has been confirmed yet.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.