US defense secretary discussed support for Turkish military modernization with counterpart

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discusses the end of the military mission in Afghanistan during a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., September 1, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed support for Turkey’s military modernization during a call with his Turkish counterpart, according to a U.S. readout released late on Monday after Turkey said it would back Sweden’s NATO accession.

Turkey requested in October 2021 to buy $20 billion of Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16 fighters and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.

“They … discussed the positive talks between Turkiye, Sweden, and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, as well as the Department of Defense’s support for Turkiye’s military modernization,” the Pentagon said of the phone call between Austin and Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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