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Ahead of Blinken's trip, Turkey's patience is wearing thin on F-16s sale

Ahead of the US top diplomat’s visit, Ankara has signaled that its patience over its bid to purchase new F-16 fighter jets from the United States is wearing thin.
The Soloturk aerobatic demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force flies an F-16 aircraft over Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic's Founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, during celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara, on October 29, 2023. Turkey marked its centenary as a post-Ottoman republic on October 29, 2023, with somewhat muted celebrations held in the shadow of Israel's escalating war with Hamas militants in Gaza. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALT

ANKARA — Turkey’s request to buy new F-16s from the United States in exchange for ratifying Sweden's NATO membership is expected to top US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s agenda as he arrives in Istanbul on Friday.

The US Secretary of State will meet with his Turkish counterpart on his first stop of a regional tour that is aimed at alleviating regional tensions. 

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Thursday that Blinken would travel to Turkey as part of a fresh regional tour that will also take him to Greece, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel and the West Bank. The visit comes amid the raging Israel-Hamas war, which is increasingly threatening to spiral to the broader region following the assassination of senior Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut on Tuesday. 

"The Secretary also looks forward to discussing with his Turkish counterparts many areas of bilateral and regional cooperation, including the final steps to complete Turkey's ratification of Sweden's accession to NATO,” Miller said. 

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