19.6 C
Frankfurt am Main

US lawmakers pledge to block F-16 sale to Turkey

Must read

Thirty-five US congressmen pledged on Friday to “take every action afforded to us as Members of Congress” to block the sale of F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits to Turkey, in a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden.

Biden had signaled his support for the weaponry sale to Turkey in a statement on June 30, expressing optimism that Congress will pass the measure.

According to a report by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the letter came in light of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government’s repressive actions at home and aggression abroad.

“Armenian Americans join with all our coalition partners in thanking Congressman Pallone for his leadership in checking Erdogan’s escalating threats of aggression against Greece, Cyprus, Armenians, and Kurds,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We express our appreciation to all who joined this bipartisan appeal and who support legislative initiatives to block the reckless sale of F-16’s to Turkey.”

In addition to ANCA, US civil society organizations such as the American Friends of Kurdistan, the American Jewish Committee, the Hellenic American Leadership Council, In Defense of Christians, Middle East Forum and the International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) are on the record as opposing the sale F-16s to Turkey.

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone and Hellenic Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Gus Bilirakis and Carolyn Maloney were joined by Greek-American Representatives Chris Pappas and Dina Titus in securing congressional co-signers on the letter to President Biden, sharing their concern about the support he expressed for an F-16 sale to Turkey during the recent NATO summit in Madrid.

“Turkish and Turkish-backed forces have utilized American-made weaponry and components during these incursions to commit war crimes, including purposefully bombing civilian targets like hospitals and schools in Iraq, Syria, and Nagorno Karabakh. They have also been used repeatedly to violate the sovereign territory of NATO allies and partners like Greece and Cyprus. These are hardly the actions of a committed ally to the United States and Europe,” the letter says.

The letter concludes by stating that Erdoğan will not change his behavior “if we continue to reward his efforts to undermine the NATO alliance. The United States must not provide any further support to Turkey’s military until tangible steps are taken to halt his destabilizing actions and violations of international law at home and abroad.”

The State Department must approve the sale of new F-16 jets, and the US Congress can also block it.

There had been speculation since Turkey raised objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bids that the US would need to offer concessions in order to convince Turkey to back down.

Still, Biden and other administration officials disputed the notion there was a connection between plans for any jet sales and Turkey’s decision to drop its objections.

“There was no quid pro quo with that. It’s just, we should sell,” Biden told reporters on June 30. “I need congressional approval to be able to do that, and I think we can get that.”

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
More News
Latest News