US representative Nicole Malliotakis appeared confident on Wednesday that both the Senate and Congress will ultimately uphold a provision banning the sale of F-16s to Turkey without a firm commitment that the fighter jets will not be used against America’s allies.
“We feel that we are in a good place and we are going to continue to advocate for the protection of our allies,” Malliotakis told state broadcaster ERT in Washington, after signing a letter along with another 21 representatives urging US lawmakers to uphold the provision.
Despite the fact that the provision was dropped by the Senate in its version of the defense spending bill last month, getting the amendment passed in the first place “played a very strong role and also sent a very strong message to the Administration that there is bipartisan opposition in both the House and the Senate,” Malliotakis, a Republican, said.
“We’re working with Senator Menendez as the chair of foreign affairs and I’ve been working with [Michael] McCaul, who I think might be the next chair of foreign affairs in the House, to ensure that there is a not a sign-off on such as sale,” she added, referring to Senator Bob Menendez, one of the original authors of the amendment.
Asked whether support for the provision would continue should the Republican party gain control of the House, Malliotakis said that “a majority of the members of the House still oppose [the sale].”
“When we had that amendment come to the floor, we were able to get the Republican votes, and they were the ones that actually passed the bill,” she said.
“We are always concerned when we really don’t know what Erdogan may say or do. He has been acting aggressively and his rhetoric has been disturbing, but that’s why we need members of Congress, we need the Administration to reaffirm its support for our allies in the region,” Malliotakis told ERT.