Top US Senator says NDAA is not a win for Turkey

Top US Senator says NDAA is not a win for Turkey
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The US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Menendez said the defense spending bill is just one of many tools the Senate has at its disposal to deal with arms sales

Bob Menendez, a top US Senator reiterated his objection for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

Commenting on the removal of certain provisions over the sale of the weaponry from the final text of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, Menendez said the bill is not a win for Turkey.

“Contrary to some claims, the NDAA is not a win for Turkey. This is just one of many tools we have at our disposal in the Senate to deal with arms sales,” said the chairman of the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

“I’ll say it again. As SFRC Chairman, I will NOT approve F-16s for Turkey until [Turkish President] Erdogan halts his abuses across the region,” Menendez said.

The United States on Tuesday has removed the provisions from the final text of the NDAA which were adopted by the House of Representatives to restrain the sale of F-16s to Turkey if certain conditions are not met.

The US House of Representatives in July adopted an amendment to the NDAA to restrict the ability of Washington to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, unless the Biden administration “certifies that doing so is essential to US national security” and so long as Turkey does not make unauthorized overflights of Greece with the new planes.

Last year, Turkey made an official request to buy 40 F-16s and some 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet, after Washington excluded it from the F-35 stealth fighter jet program over its acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense missiles in 2019.

While the President Joe Biden said the US administration supports the sale of the aircraft to Ankara, a possible deal needs approval from the Congress. This gives Menendez the power to prevent the deal in his role as the committee chair.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday has welcomed the removal of the provisions over the sale of F-16s to Ankara from the US defense spending bill and said the sale process must be finalized “as soon as possible”.