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Politics

House Passes Pappas-Led Amendment Blocking F-16 Sales to Turkey

July 15, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – On July 14, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), alongside co-leads Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Carolyn Maloney, Frank Pallone, Nicole Malliotakis, John Sarbanes, and David Cicilline applauded the House passage of his bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would stop President Biden from selling F-16s to Turkey and put in place needed Congressional oversight to ensure that Turkey does not use F-16s to violate Greece’s sovereignty.

This follows several bipartisan actions led by Pappas to oppose the Biden Administration’s proposal to sell F-16s, F-16 modernization kits, and other advanced weapons and equipment to Turkey despite its possession of the Russian S-400 missile system and continued violation of U.S. law, and its increasingly belligerent rhetoric and aggression towards Greece, America’s reliable, democratic NATO ally.

“The passage of this bipartisan amendment sends a strong message to Turkey and to the international community that the United States will not allow the Erdogan government to escape accountability for violating U.S. law and the standards of the NATO alliance,” said Congressman Pappas. “I have consistently opposed the sale of F-16s to Turkey and advanced weapons and equipment to upgrade its existing F-16 fleet. It remains deeply troubling that President Biden supports moving forward with this sale despite Turkey’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric and aggression towards Greece, a reliable democratic NATO ally. Actions speak louder than words. I will continue working across the aisle to take all necessary actions to prevent F-16s or any other American-made weapons from falling into Erdogan’s hands. I’m pleased that this amendment garnered strong, bipartisan support, and I want to thank my co-leads and fellow members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues for moving this forward.”

“For far too long, the United States has allowed Erdoğan to dictate his terms and hide behind Turkey’s status as a NATO ally. 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,” said Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06). “The sale of American advanced fighter jets to Turkey will not incentivize Erdogan to suddenly transform into a good ally. More likely, these weapons will lead to further death and destruction in the region. He’s avoided facing real-life consequences greater than a slap on the wrist for his flagrant violations of international law at home and abroad, and it’s time we finally say enough is enough.”

“As Co-Chair of the Hellenic Caucus, I am pleased that our amendment to block this unnecessary and dangerous sale passed the House. Turkey uses their air fleet to violate the sovereignty of a reliable NATO member and ally, Greece and still possesses Russian S-400 anti-air systems, which led to their ejection from the F-35 program and the imposition of CAATSA sanctions,” said Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12). “Selling Turkey more F-16s or providing them with the technology to modernize their current fleet would not be in the interest of the United States or our allies. I am proud to have worked with Representative Pappas, Bilirakis and all my colleagues on this essential amendment to block these sales to Turkey. We must continue to hold Erdogan accountable for violations of U.S. law, human rights, and the security of our ally Greece – not reward him.”

“During his recent visit to Washington, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed concerns about Erdoğan’s unprovoked aggression and territorial military flyovers in Greek airspace,” said Congresswoman Malliotakis (NY-11). “Despite these actions, President Biden signaled his willingness to provide Turkey with U.S. warplanes and kits to modernize its fleet, air-to-air missiles, and radar equipment, which would only heighten the threat against some of our country’s strongest allies, including Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. I’m proud to join my colleagues in implementing safeguards to protect our allies from aggressors and make it more difficult for President Biden to make deals with countries that violate international law.”

“Passage of this amendment today sends a clear message to Turkey that it cannot expect to receive advanced military technologies from the United States if it continues to engage in a pattern of reckless behavior,” said Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03). “Turkey’s repeated, illegal overflights of Greece – one of our nation’s most loyal and supportive allies – are only part of Erdoğan’s larger campaign of aggression and destabilization in the Eastern Mediterranean. Congress must hold Turkey accountable for its actions in order to advance safety and security in this critical region.”

“NATO membership comes with the responsibility to respect other member-states, and despite this obligation, Turkey has regularly allowed its fighter jets to violate Greek airspace, a strong and reliable NATO ally,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01). “And in the past few months, in the face of the Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine – the biggest threat to European peace and security since the Cold War – we’ve seen a refusal from Turkey to impose sanctions aimed at stopping Russian aggression. These actions are part and parcel of the all-too-often unpredictable foreign policy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and are counter-productive during a time in which NATO unity must remain resolute. Congress should not approve a sale or transfer of any F-16 fighter aircraft from the United States to Turkey unless it is in the vital interests of the United States and until Turkey commits to permanently ending its overfly missions in Greek airspace.”

“Turkey has consistently demonstrated a complete disregard for following international law,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis. “Erdogan repeatedly acts contrary to American interests, with his dangerous behavior contributing to the instability of the region. For all these reasons, we absolutely should not sell Turkey F-16s or F-16 modernization kits.”

The effort was supported by the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), American Hellenic Institute (AHI), American Jewish Committee (AJC), Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, American Friends of Kurdistan, American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), Middle East Forum, PSEKA, and Armenian Council of America (ACA).

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