Greek-American Congressman Gus Bilirakis, (R-FL) said on Wednesday that Republicans have not supported the F-16 sale to Turkey, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed.
According to Reuters, Erdogan who is in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting, said that he received “positive” feedback from two US senators he met on the F-16 sale.
“We have spoken to the Republicans, and we have received the support of the Republicans,” Erdogan said. “If we can’t get the results out of the United States about the F-16s, what are we going to do? Of course, we’re going to take care of our own selves.”
Earlier this month, Erdogan said his country may turn to other countries such as Russia if the US fails to follow through on its promise to deliver F-16s after a bill recently approved by American lawmakers created a new hurdle for any purchase by Turkey.
Bilirakis: Turkey’s Erdogan “confusing his dreams with reality”
Bilirakis who has campaigned in Congress with other lawmakers opposing the US plans to sell Turkey F-16s said that “perhaps Erdogan is confusing his dreams with reality.”
Writing on Twitter he adds: “I was joined by the majority of my colleagues, including 59 Republicans in restricting any further sale of F-16s to Turkey. President Erdogan will have to learn the hard way that being a bad ally and bully isn’t the way to get the things he wants.”
In January 2022, Bilirakis, along with Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) and Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH), led a group of colleagues in writing a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken opposing the US plans to sell Turkey F-16s.
Bilirakis also took issue with Erdogan’s statement that Greece should put aside “provocations and escalation and respond to our calls for solidarity and cooperation.”
The Florida Congressman said that this is “a rich statement from the leader of a country that chronically violates the airspace of a fellow NATO ally and calls into question Greece’s sovereignty over its islands.”
“Erdogan continues to prove this week that he lives in an alternate universe,” Bilirakis said.
“His statements about wanting ‘everything to be resolved based on the rules of good neighborliness and on the basis of international law’ stand in stark contrast to Turkey’s continued illegal occupation of Cyprus, Turkish military overflights of Greek islands, and violations of Greece’s territorial waters,” Bilirakis said.