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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsUS Congress Approves Measure to Restrict F-16 Sales to Turkey

US Congress Approves Measure to Restrict F-16 Sales to Turkey

A US Congressional committee approved an amendment that would restrict the US from selling F-16s or modernization kits to Turkey. Credit: Wikipedia

A newly approved a measure by a US Congressional committee would restrict but not completely prohibit the sale of F-16 fighter jets or F-16 modernization kits to Turkey.

The amendment, to be tacked on to the United States’ massive military spending bill for 2023, called the National Defense Authorization Act, was approved by a House of Representatives committee this week. It was pushed for by US Congressman Chris Pappas. The Greek-American Democrat from New Hampshire, is a member of the House Rules Committee, which voted on the addition.

The measure would prohibit the US President from selling or transferring the fighter jets or kits to Turkey unless the president can show Congress that Turkey has “not violated the sovereignty of Greece” in the last 120 days.

It also requires the President to stipulate that providing the materials to Turkey is in the national interest of the United States, a high but not impossible bar to clear.

Measure Restricts F-16 Sales to Turkey

The amendment also mandates that the US President show concrete steps have been “taken to ensure that such F-16s are not used by Turkey for repeated unauthorized territorial overflights of Greece.”

The amendment comes at a particularly tense moment in Greece-Turkey relations.

In recent months, the Turkish military has conducted overflights of its aircraft above Greek islands without approval, prompting rebuke from Greece and other nations. In June, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said “the violation of Greek air space and overflights above Greek islands is not correct.”

Turkey’s refusal to talk to allies within NATO was “counterproductive and contrary to the spirit of the alliance,” the spokesperson added.

However, late last month, hours after Turkish President Racep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to lift the threat of a veto on Finland and Sweden joining NATO, the US announced it fully supported the modernization of Turkey’s F-16 fleet.

That statement was seen as a blow to Greece, coming amid Turkey’s aggressive moves on its western neighbor, with the most recent being perhaps the most bizarre. On Saturday, far-right nationalist Turkish politician Devlet Bahçeli released a map that indicates the Greek islands in the Aegean and even Crete belong to Turkey. In response, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on Erdogan, a Bahçeli ally, to respond.

In February, Greece ratified a major arms agreement with France that included the purchase of six new Rafale fighter jets to an existing order for 18 aircraft and the purchase of three frigates.

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