US Congress threatens Turkey with denial of F-16 fighter jets over NATO
The US should reconsider its attitude towards a possible deal with Turkey on the F-16 because of its position on the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, suggested Senator Menendez
Turkey's decision to prevent Sweden and Finland from joining NATO increases US concerns about Turkey's reliability as an ally, which could influence the decision to supply Ankara with American F-16 fighters, said the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator from the Democratic Party Robert Menendez, reports The Washington Post.
“I hope the administration takes note of this while they consider the F-16,”— he said. “You should tell Erdogan that you need to act differently if you want any consideration,” — urged Menendez.
In turn, Republican Senator Tom Tillis pointed out that Washington has “any amount of leverage”; to influence Ankara, but does not want to bring the situation to the point where they have to put pressure on Turkey.
Finland and Sweden applied to join the alliance on May 18, they are to be considered by the NATO Council. Turkish authorities have warned they will not support the applications, as Helsinki and Stockholm have previously refused to extradite “terrorists” to Ankara; from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and imposed sanctions. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Finland and Sweden have become “guest houses” for terrorists.
According to Sabah, Ankara is offering Helsinki and Stockholm a number of conditions, including speeding up the extradition of PKK members, and Turkey, recognizing the PKK and its offshoots as terrorist organizations, avoiding contact with PKK leaders, and others. The White House noted that they were negotiating with the parties and expressed confidence that a solution would eventually be found.
Turkey turned to the United States with a request to buy F-16 fighters last year. According to Reuters, we are talking about the supply of 40 aircraft and almost 80 upgrade kits for already delivered fighters. The White House considered the deal for the sale of fighter jets to be in the interests of the United States, expressing confidence that it would serve the unity of NATO, the agency wrote, but Congress was skeptical of Ankara's request.
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In July 2019, the United States excluded Turkey from the F-35 fighter supply program for the purchase of four Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, the deal between Moscow and Ankara amounted to $2.5 billion. F-35s cannot co-exist with a Russian intelligence gathering platform that will be used to study their advanced capabilities, — explained in the White House. Turkish President Recep Erdogan in September last year praised the purchase of air defense systems from Russia with the words “it was worth it.”