US senator calls for setting broader conditions on use of F-16s by Turkey

US senator calls for setting broader conditions on use of F-16s by Turkey
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New amendment brings restriction on Turkey's use of fighter jets against Kurds in Syria, and requires Ankara's ratification of Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO.

An amendment that was introduced by a US senator on Saturday not only ties the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey to a ratification of Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession by Turkey, but also further restricts their use.

US Senator Robert Menendez earlier filed an amendment asking the US President to certify to the relevant congressional committees that the F-16s sold to Turkey will not be used for overflights over the Greek islands.

A second amendment, filed by Senator Chris Van Hollen in the National Defense Appropriation Bill (NDAA), requires that the US President provides certification of measures taken to ensure that F-16s are used by Turkey neither for its "unauthorized overflights over Greece," nor "in military operations against US allies, including the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)."

It adds:

"No export of new F-16 aircraft or F-16 upgrade technology or modernization kits may take place prior to the date Turkey ratifies Sweden and Finland's NATO membership."

After Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 defense systems in 2019, Washington excluded Turkey from a F-35 stealth fighter jet program. Instead, Turkey made an official request to buy 40 F-16s and some 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet last year.