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GreekReporter.comEuropeU.S. Senators Appeal to President Biden to Delay F-16 Sale to Turkey

U.S. Senators Appeal to President Biden to Delay F-16 Sale to Turkey

U.S. Senators Turkey
U.S. Senators say that consideration of F-16 fighter jet sales to Turkey should not begin until the NATO protocols for the accession of Sweden and Finland are ratified. Public Domain

U.S. Senators sent on Thursday a letter to President Biden expressing concern about Turkey’s continued delays around ratifying the NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland.

The bipartisan initiative led by Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) states that Congressional consideration of F-16 fighter jet sales to Turkey should not begin until the NATO protocols are ratified.

The Senators note the importance of welcoming Sweden and Finland into NATO to further strengthen the alliance amid Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and broader attempts to destabilize the global order.

“We write with concern about President Erdoğan and the Republic of Türkiye’s continued delays ratifying the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Failure to ratify the protocols or present a timeline for ratification threatens the Alliance’s unity at a key moment in history, as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

“A productive and mutually beneficial bilateral security relationship with Türkiye is in the interest of the United States, and we are awaiting the government’s ratification of the NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland,” the Senators wrote.

They continued: “However, a failure by Türkiye to uphold its commitments made under the trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Türkiye, Finland and Sweden should be taken into consideration, as Congress cannot consider future support for Türkiye, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets, until Türkiye completes ratification of the accession protocols.”

“When Putin invaded Ukraine, he was counting on the transatlantic alliance to fracture; instead, the United States and our allies are meeting an unprecedented moment in history with unprecedented unity and strength. We urge you to continue to engage with the U.S. Ambassador to Türkiye, the U.S. Mission to NATO and with our allies, including Sweden and Finland, to encourage Türkiye to act swiftly in support of transatlantic unity and ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession protocols to the NATO Alliance,” the Senators concluded.

The U.S. Senators signing the letter on Turkey

In addition to Senators Shaheen and Tillis, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Boozman (R-AR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Rick Scott (R-FL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) also signed onto the letter.

A copy of the text of the letter is available here.

Turkey rejects U.S. conditions on the sale of F-16s

On Tuesday, Turkey’s Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın warned against the U.S. making the F-16 program dependent on Turkey’s ratification of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.

“It is out of the question for us to take a step back in that direction. These are separate processes.”

Turkey made a request to Washington in 2021 for 40 F-16 jets and modernization kits. The State Department informally notified Congress of the potential sale.

Asked if the F-16 program is finished, Kalin said: “Depends on what condition they put in. We don’t want it to end. We want this program to continue.

“We know that the intention and desire of the (Joe) Biden administration is in this direction, but if they cannot overcome the congressional obstacle or if this issue gets stuck in Congress, then we will look at the situation and make a new assessment.”

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