Key US Senator still objects F-16 sales to Turkey
Bob Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Thursday that he would not approve any F-16 sales to Turkey until President Tayyip Erdogan halts his campaign of aggression across the region, after the US Senate dropped amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restricting the sale of F-16s to Turkey.
“Let me be clear: as #SFRC Chairman, I will not approve any F-16 case for Turkey until Erdogan halts his campaign of aggression across the region. Full stop,” Menendez said on Twitter.
An #NDAA amendment is only one tool at our disposal to advance US interests in the Eastern Med.— Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SFRCdems) October 12, 2022
Let me be clear: as #SFRC Chairman, I will not approve any F-16 case for Turkey until Erdogan halts his campaign of aggression across the region. Full stop. https://t.co/lMkKaMatuN
Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the route through which the proposed sale must make its way to the Senate for approval, and Senator Menendez has the power to stymie the deal in his role as committee chair.
After Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 defense systems in 2019, Washington excluded Turkey from a F-35 stealth fighter jet programme. Instead, Turkey made an official request to buy 40 F-16s and some 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet last year.
US President Joe Biden supported the sale at a NATO Summit in Madrid at the end of last month and said he was confident the congressional approval needed for the sale can be obtained.