US Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat and chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his opposition to the sale of military equipment to Turkey during an annual summit in New York on Tuesday.
“I find it very difficult to agree on the sale of other military equipment to Turkey,” he said referring to Turkey’s request to modernize its F-16 fighter jets and upgrade its fleet at the Mediterranean Business Summit titled “Investing for peace, stability and pluralistic growth.”
He also said he believed that, “at the end of the day, Turkey will remove the obstacles” for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
Referring to recent tensions in the Aegean, Menendez said that Turkey “continues to pose a threat to stability and prosperity” in the Eastern Mediterranean and that despite being a NATO ally it is challenging Greek sovereignty “with provocative overflights,” while denouncing as “unacceptable” all violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets.
According to Menendez, Turkey is undermining NATO unity at a critical time. “Relations with [Turkish president Recep Tayyip] Erdogan are difficult, they are not the relations we expected,” he said, stressing that “we must make it clear to Turkey that there will be consequences” for violations of international law and “overflights in the Aegean.