The chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, said that he would be opposed to the sale of next-generation F-35 fighter jets to Turkey unless the issue of the S-400 missile defense system the country purchased from Russia is resolved, in an interview with Tom Ellis, Kathimerini English Edition’s editor in chief, on Tuesday.
The senator reiterated his longstanding view that the S-400 system must go, adding however that further steps must also be taken by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“If I was to look to the future and choose an option for our children, without any extenuating circumstances, I would prefer to not look towards Venezuela, Iran, and other such countries, and instead look to allies like Greece and Israel,” said Menendez, while adding that in his view the recent charm offensive by the Turkish president will most likely fail.
After its exclusion from F-35 fighter jets programs, as a result of the supply of the S-400s, Ankara has told the US it wants to buy 40 new F-16s and upgrade another 80.
The senator also discussed the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and stressed that it is the largest strategic blunder ever committed by a Russian president. Any attack, he said, on any European NATO member-state will not be allowed, not only because of the Alliance, but also for moral reasons.
The only time in the 75 years of NATO that a member-state was attacked, he added, was the US on September 11, 2001.
He stated that NATO is stronger than ever and that no attack on any member-state will be tolerated.