Congress urged to place strict conditions on sales of F-16s to Turkey

Congress urged to place strict conditions on sales of F-16s to Turkey

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) have written a joint letter to Congress (one of the Committees, actually), urging it to support an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would make the sale of F-16 fighters and upgrade kits to Turkey conditional to a certification that Turkey is not making aggressive moves against Greece, especially with overflights over its air space.

The bipartisan amendment was sponsored by six House of Representatives members, three of them Greek-American, but is widely known as the Pappas Amendment, after Chris Pappas, a Representative from New Hampshire.

The full letter, by AJC Senior Director of Policy and Political Affairs Julie Rayman and HAC Executive Director Endy Zemenides, follows:

July 11, 2022

Esteemed Members of the Committee,

On behalf of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), we write to urge your support for a bipartisan amendment to the NDAA sponsored by Rep. Chris Pappas, Gus Bilirakis, David Cicilline, Nicole Malliotakis, Frank Pallone, and Carolyn Maloney to limit the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. 

Turkish violations of Greek sovereign airspace and armed flyovers over islands in the Aegean are at dangerous levels, posing a real threat to peace and stability in the region. Additionally, Turkey holds provocative and dangerous naval exercises – sometimes with live ammunition – in Greek territorial waters and around inhabited islands. Despite these aggressive provocations by the Erdogan government, the U.S. administration has signaled openness to considering a request made by the Republic of Turkey to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing enormous fleet of warplanes.

Selling Turkey new F-16s and upgrade kits to Turkey would undermine American law, values, and interests. Turkey has already used its existing fleet of American F-16s to violate Greek airspace. A broad array of experts consistently express concerns about co-locating upgraded F-16s in the same theater as Russian S400s, which Turkey also possesses. The Pappas amendment would prohibit the United States from selling F-16s and F-16 modernization kits and upgrade technologies to Turkey unless Congress receives certification that Turkey has not violated Greece’s sovereignty – specifically through territorial overflights or violations of Greece’s internationally-recognized Flight Information Region. We hope you will support this important amendment.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this matter. 

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