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Politics

Malliotakis Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging Biden to Refuse Sale of F-16 Jets to Turkey

WASHINGTON, DC – On October 25, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) led a group of bipartisan lawmakers in urging President Joe Biden and Secretary Antony Blinken in refusing Turkey’s request to purchase 40 new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and 80 F-16 modernization kits from the United States Government to modernize its Air Force.

In July 2019, President Trump removed Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program after Turkish President Erdogan executed Turkey’s first purchase of Russian S-400 systems.

“Following President Erdogan’s September announcement that Turkey will purchase an additional tranche of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, we cannot afford to compromise our national security by sending U.S.-manufactured aircraft to a treaty ally which continues to behave like an adversary,” the lawmakers wrote. “As long as President Erdogan advances his expansionist project in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey will continue to threaten our national security and the security of our closest allies in the region—Greece, Israel and Cyprus. We urge you to act in our national interest and for the sake of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean by refusing to reinforce Turkey’s aging arsenal of fighter jets.”

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear President Biden and Secretary Blinken:

We write with a profound sense of concern in light of recent reports indicating that Turkey may soon purchase 40 new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and 80 F-16 modernization kits from the United States government. Following President Erdogan’s September announcement that Turkey will purchase an additional tranche of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, we cannot afford to compromise our national security by sending U.S.-manufactured aircraft to a treaty ally which continues to behave like an adversary.

As you know, the Trump Administration officially removed Turkey from its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program after President Erdogan executed Turkey’s first purchase of Russian S-400 systems, a decision which prevented Turkey from compromising the F-35 system. With the backing of a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress, this commonsense policy has continued under your Administration.

As Turkey reportedly paid $1.4 billion to join the U.S.-led JSF program, President Erdogan now seeks compensation in the form of cash, the planned F-35 shipment, new F-16 fighter jets, and modernization kits for its existing F-16 fleet. While we are confident that Congress will stand together to block any such exports should these plans progress, the United States cannot afford to transfer any advanced military equipment to the government of Turkey at this time.

As long as President Erdogan advances his expansionist project in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey will continue to threaten our national security and the security of our closest allies in the region—Greece, Israel and Cyprus. We urge you to act in our national interest and for the sake of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean by refusing to reinforce Turkey’s aging arsenal of fighter jets, and we look forward to receiving your response.

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