WASHINGTON, DC – On June 30, Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), along with Caucus Member Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), issued the following statements opposing the Biden Administration’s apparent plans to sell sensitive F-16 modernization kits to Turkey:
“I am deeply disappointed with the apparent plan to move forward with modernizing Turkey’s F-16s.” said Congresswoman Maloney “We must not forget that Turkey uses their current air fleet to violate the sovereignty of a reliable NATO member and ally, Greece, and that such a modernized force could be used to support their illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus. Furthermore, Turkey still possesses Russian S-400 anti-air systems, which led to their ejection from the F-35 program and the imposition of CAATSA sanctions 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.”
“Turkey has consistently demonstrated a complete disregard for following international law,” said Congressman 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 must not sell Turkey F-16s or F-16 modernization kits.”
“I’m deeply concerned about Assistant Secretary Wallander’s comments in support of modernizing Turkish F-16s and strongly oppose the sale of advanced weapons and equipment to upgrade Turkey’s F-16 fleet. Turkey has failed to address the issues that led to its ejection from the F-35 program and the imposition of CAATSA sanctions,” said Congressman Pappas. “Turkey’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric and behavior towards Greece, a reliable democratic NATO ally, also cannot be ignored. Turkish F-16s have flown over Greek islands and violated its airspace hundreds of times in recent weeks, and Turkey has launched a baseless campaign disputing Greece’s sovereignty over its eastern Aegean islands. We cannot allow the Erdogan government to escape accountability for violating U.S. law and the standards of the NATO alliance.”
On November 1, 2021, Maloney, Pappas, and Bilirakis led 38 of their House colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to oppose the sale of F-16 fighters and modernization kits to the Republic of Turkey.
In their letter the members stated, “We share your goal of a Turkey that is rooted to the West, but we will not achieve that goal if the Erdogan government escapes accountability for violating U.S. law and the standards of the NATO alliance.”
The prevention of the sale of F-16s to Turkey is supported by the Hellenic American Leadership Council, the Armenian National Committee of America, the American Friends of Kurdistan, the Hindu American Foundation, the Middle East Forum, the American Jewish Committee, PSEKA, the American Hellenic Institute, the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, the Armenian Assembly of America, and the Armenian Council of America.
The full text of the letter can be read online: https://bit.ly/3OCABtr.