US: US MPs put a brake on the sale of new F-16s in Turkey

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US lawmakers in Congress are trying to curb the approval of the sale of new F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. In a cross-party letter, which is currently being collected, the Americans Lawmakers are voicing opposition to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for both the acquisition of new F-16 fighter jets and the upgrading of existing ones. This initiative belongs to MPs Chris Pappas, Gus Bilirakis, and Carolyn Maloni and enjoys the support of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), as well as Armenian, Indian, and Kurdish organizations.

According to the letter, “earlier this month it was reported that Turkey had asked to buy” 40 fighter jets F-16 Lockheed Martin and modernize almost 80 of its existing fighter jets. ” On October 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the United States “proposed the sale of a batch of F-16 fighter jets“, But the alleged sale has not yet been confirmed. We note that the State Department declined to answer questions about the letter of interest, citing its policy of not commenting on letters of interest prior to briefing Congress. We believe the extensive press reports on her request Turkey“As well as the statements of President Erdogan himself, provide us with a sufficient basis to state our opposition to this possible sale.”

Upgrading to Block 70 poses similar risks if Ankara continues to hold Russian S-400s

Continuing, US lawmakers warn the Secretary of State that a possible upgrade of Turkish F-16s carries risks due to the fact that Ankara continues to possess the Russian S-400 system. “One of the reasons why Congress has insisted on Turkey’s rejection of the F-35 program were the significant hazards associated with the S-400 and F-35 junction. Experts note that the upgrade to Block 70 poses similar risks if Ankara continues to own Russian S-400s. “Given that upgraded F-16s continue to play an important role for both us and our credible allies, this is a risk that we find unacceptable,” he said.

In addition, the letter records the absolute indifference shown by the Turkish side to US law. US lawmakers say Turkey’s involvement in such a defense program would send a wrong message from Washington and cast doubt on its determination to secure the implementation of the US Sanctions Enforcement Act. (CAATSA).

“It sends the wrong signal to Turkey and gives it reason to doubt our determination”

“Less than a year after the CAATSA sanctions were imposed, the Erdogan government has made it clear that it has no intention of complying with US law or dealing with the underlying circumstances that led to Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program and the freezing of markets. American weapons from Congress. Indeed, just last month, President Erdogan announced his intention to buy an additional S-400. At a hearing to confirm his appointment, Biden’s candidate for the post of ambassador to Turkey, former Senator Jeff Flake, said Turkey would face additional CAATSA sanctions if it acquired additional Russian weapons systems. This is something we agree with. Whereas this appears to be the position of both the Government and Congress, even in the light of Turkey’s letter of interest, in the current circumstances sends the wrong signal to Turkey and gives it reason to doubt our determination, while continuing to develop its military relations with Russia. “

Finally, it is worth noting that US lawmakers warn the State Department not to attempt to resort to legal tricks in order to overcome the CAATSA sanctions reef. In fact, as they emphasize, they will not hesitate to take additional legislative action in order to prevent such a development.

“We consider such attempts a misrepresentation of Congress’ intent.”

“Given the CAATSA sanctions that have already been imposed, we expect that such a sale could only be finalized by trickery – for example, by trying to sell the aircraft to an entity other than the Turkish Defense Industry, which is under sanctions. We consider such attempts a misrepresentation of Congress’ intent and we will consider additional legislation to limit this potential market if the government insists on ignoring Congress’ intent. “

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