March 26, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Last week, Turkey and the US failed to reach an agreement over the purchase of 30 additional F-16s as Lockheed Martin cannot seem to meet the requirement regarding an accelerated delivery schedule of their F-16.
In another hitch Turkey
complained over what they called serious operational restrictions the U.S. government wants to impose on the aircraft's use by Ankara.
They reportedly suspended negotiations with the US after Washington set the condition that they not be flown over the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Turkey sees rules like this as an intervention into our national defense planning.
Last September, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA
) said in a statement: "The modernization of the F-16 aircraft will be provided in accordance with, and subject to the limitation on use and transfer provided under, the Arms Export Control Act, as amended, as embodied in the Letter of Offer and Acceptance. This proposed sale will not adversely affect either the military balance in the region or U.S. efforts to encourage a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus questions."
Officials back then also said Turkey has pledged to limit the use of the modernized F-16 fleet to defensive operations.
Pentagon officials said the United States implements standard procedures in line with export rules and regulations, and that Washington does not discriminate against Turkey or any other ally.
The US has not imposed any such restriction on the around 300 F-16s already in Turkey's inventory.
Turkey and the US have also been in dispute over the price of the F-16s, estimated at around $2.9 billion. The US Congress approved earlier this year the sale of an additional 30 advanced F-16 block 50
aircraft as well as associated equipment and services under Foreign Military Sale (FMS
) credit to Turkey.