Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) led a bipartisan letter with Representatives Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Dina Titus (NV-01) and 30 House colleagues to President Biden expressing opposition to the potential sale of next generation F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits to Turkey.
“Erdoğan has consistently chosen to prioritize divisive tactics for personal gain above the collective good of his allies,” the lawmakers wrote. “His choice to block Finland and Sweden from joining NATO until he received absurd and unrelated concessions makes it clear that he has done the bare minimum to bolster NATO’s strategic posture since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered the largest crisis the alliance has faced in decades.
“The sale of American advanced fighter jets to Turkey will not incentivize Erdoğan to suddenly transform into a good ally. More likely, these weapons will lead to further death and destruction in the region. Turkey also continues to utilize S-400 missile defense systems, which potentially exposes important tactical information about U.S. weaponry and military operations to Russia.
“As your Administration seeks to advance the sale of new F-16s and modernization kits to Turkey, please know that we will take every action afforded to us as Members of Congress to prevent it from moving forward. Precedent shows that Erdoğan will not change his behavior if we continue to reward his efforts to undermine the NATO alliance. The United States must not provide any further support to Turkey’s military until tangible steps are taken to halt his destabilizing actions and violations of international law at home and abroad.”
If approved, the sale of next-generation F-16s to Turkey will only incentivize President Erdoğan to continue his destabilizing actions in the region and ignore his commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkish and Turkish-backed forces have repeatedly taken aggressive, deadly actions against U.S. allies and partners in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, South Caucasus, and North Africa for years – often utilizing American-made weaponry and components to carry out these incursions and commit war crimes in Syria, Iraq, and Nagorno-Karabakh. The Erdoğan regime also continues to commit serious human rights abuses and use anti-democratic tactics to repress religious, ethnic, and political minorities at home and abroad.
Reports of the United States’ intent to move forward with the sale were confirmed during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain in late June. Turkey first initiated the request for 40 Block 70 F-16 fighter jets and 80 modernization kits for their current fleet in the fall of last year.
The letter is available here.