Bloomberg confirms already published reports, first by the Wall Street Journal, that the Biden Administration has asked Congress to approve upgrades to Turkey’s F-16 fighters and other weapons sales exceeding $500 million.
Bloomberg says “a State Department spokesperson replied in an email that the US values its relationship with Turkey and that its continued ability to operate in conjunction with other NATO members remains a priority.”
Turkey, which was kicked out from the program to help develop the more advanced F-35 fighter in 2019 after purchasing the Russian S-400 missile defense system, also wants to buy new F-16s.
Some in the U.S. Congress have already expressed their opposition to the Biden Administration’s proposal.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, US Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Chairman of the House Energy Committee, said: “I strongly condemn the proposed weapons sale to Turkey. The United States must not reward Turkey with new weapons and military equipment given the Erdogan regime’s long record of human rights abuses, destabilizing actions, and failure to live up to NATO commitments. In recent months, President Erdogan has made meager overtures to get back in our good graces. The U.S. cannot falsely assume that this sale will incentivize Erdogan to halt his deadly actions and change his diplomacy. This sale will only embolden him and give him the resources to continue his war mongering initiatives in the Caucasus and beyond. I cannot support any Congressional action that would help Turkey increase its military arsenal.”