Democrats block Biden from selling F-16 fighters to Turkey
The Congressional democrats reiterated their position to bar the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey as The US House of Representatives nears a vote this week on a bipartisan measure to significantly restrict President’s Biden’s ability to seal the deal, Politico reported.
U.S. President Joe Biden said last month at a NATO Summit that he supported the sale and that he was confident the congressional approval needed could be obtained.
But members of his own Democrat Party in the Congress will not make it easy for Biden to hold onto his promise, saying the NATO ally is engaging in “authoritarianism” and “antagonistic actions.
“How do you reward a nation that does all of those things?” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez said in an interview. “I don’t see it. Now, if they want to start changing their ways, that’s a different story.”
Menendez is one of four lawmakers whose approval is required for foreign military sales. He has long opposed the sale, and refused to sign it off even after Biden’s confident promise at the NATO summit.
When asked whether he could be convinced to drop his opposition, Menendez responded: “Not very much,” Politico reported.
Another roadblock is an amendment to the annual defense policy legislation that will be voted this week which requires Turkey to halt violations of Greek airspace over the Aegean Sea.
The bipartisan amendment led by Greek-American Congressman Chris Pappas and co-signed by 18 of his House colleagues has been included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023.