ATHENS – With worries they could be used against Greece or Cyprus in a conflict, a coalition of Greek-American, Greek-Cypriot groups and allies began a campaign trying to persuade the United States not to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.
Using the hashtag #NoJetsForTurkey, the campaign urged US citizens to petition their senators to ask that they oppose Turkey’s request, citing Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile systems, and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, where it’s drilling offshore for oil and gas.
They said the US should not sell new fighters and upgrade older F-16s to Turkey “until it shows compliance with US and international law,” which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t accept.
“Not only did Turkey purchase a Russian missile defense system in direct opposition to NATO’s interests, but it also continues its illegal occupation of Cyprus and its constant threats against Greece’s airspace and territory. In short, Turkey’s behavior in the region should not be rewarded with such a sale,” they said.
The statement added that, “The sale of F-16s or upgrade kits to Turkey would set a dangerous precedent,” especially with Erdogan also wanting to buy F-35s that could put Greek pilots at a distinct disadvantage.
Turkey has also continued to send F-16s into Greek airspace, intercepted by the Greek jets, with frequent mock fights, the incursions breaking Erdogan’s word not to increase provocations after he met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The campaign is endorsed by ten organizations, including the Hellenic American Leadership Council, Armenian National Committee of America, International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), American Hellenic Council of California, American Friends of Kurdistan, Hindu American Foundation, Middle East Forum, Philos Project, A Demand for Action and In Defense of Christians, said the newspaper and news site Kathimerini.
There’s also growing concern in the Greek-American community that US President Joe Biden, an alleged friend, siding more with Turkey at the same time Greece and the US recently renewed a military cooperation pact.
The initiate offers a template for the public to contact Senators about the issue on its website: www.nojetsforturkey.com