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US Senate defeats bid to stop F-16 fighter jet sale to Turkey

The U.S. Senate on Thursday soundly defeated an effort to stop the $23 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits to Turkey, which President Joe Biden’s administration approved after Turkey approved Sweden’s joining the NATO alliance, Reuters reports.

The Senate voted 79 to 13 against a resolution of disapproval of the sale introduced by Republican Senator Rand Paul.

Before the vote, Paul criticized Turkey’s government and said allowing the sale would embolden its “misbehavior.” Backers of the sale said it was important for Washington to keep its word to a NATO ally.

The Biden administration formally informed Congress on Jan. 26 of its intention to proceed with the sale of 40 Lockheed Martin, F-16s and nearly 80 modernization kits to Turkey, a day after Ankara fully completed ratification of the NATO membership of Sweden.

The sale had been held up for months over issues including Turkey’s refusal to approve Sweden’s accession to the military alliance. Turkey first asked to make the purchase in October 2021.

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