In a strong statement of condemnation, 42 US Congressmembers signed a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, opposing the sale of F-16 weapons and technology to Turkey. In a press release accompanying the letter, US lawmakers called Turkey a “rogue state” engaging in “increasingly destabilizing behavior.” The letter is yet another sign of worsening relations between the United States and Turkey, both NATO member countries.
Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), alongside Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), signed a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken opposing US plans to sell Turkey F-16s and demanding information from the State Department following recent reports of a request from Turkey to purchase 40 F-16 fighter jets and dozens of modernization kits for its existing warplanes from the United States. The Hellenic Caucus in Congress, who consist of lawmakers friendly to Greece, helped to coordinate the issuance of the letter.
“In October it was reported that Turkey requested to purchase ‘40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes,’” stated the letter. “We believe that the widespread reporting on Turkey’s request, as well as President Erdogan’s own statements, provide us sufficient basis to declare our opposition to this potential sale.”
“We share your goal of a Turkey that is rooted to the West, but we will not achieve that goal if the Erdogan government escapes accountability for violating U.S. law and the standards of the NATO alliance,” continued the letter. “We request a formal notification of any Turkish LOR, the specifics of such an LOR, the Administration’s position on such an LOR, and responses to our specific objections. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter, and we look forward to your response.”
“Turkey’s illegal and unfettered actions are indicative of President Erdogan’s transformation of Turkey to a rogue state led by a leader with a nationalistic philosophy, Neo-Ottoman ambitions, and a complete disregard for following international law,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “Erdogan continues to violate American law (the Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA), which alone makes Turkey ineligible for new F16s. But beyond his violation of CAATSA, he also acts contrary to American interests, with his dangerous behavior contributing to the instability of the region. For all these reasons, we absolutely should not sell Turkey F-16s.”
“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, I am proud to join Rep. Pappas in opposing any transfer of such advanced and sensitive military equipment to Turkey,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Turkey’s purchase and use of Russian S-400 missile systems in defiance of NATO standards and U.S. law, decades-long violations of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereignty, and increasingly destabilizing behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean and West Asia clearly demonstrate that sales of advanced U.S. military equipment like the F-16 and associated modernization kits must stop.”
Efforts to prevent weapons sales to Turkey have been supported by: the Hellenic American Leadership Council, the Armenian National Committee of America, the American Friends of Kurdistan, the Hindu American Foundation, the Middle East Forum, the American Jewish Committee, PSEKA, the American Hellenic Institute, the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, and the Armenian Council of America.