US Senator Menendez says in talks with administration on F-16 sales to Turkey

US Senator Menendez says in talks with administration on F-16 sales to Turkey

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez on Monday said there was a temporary “lull” in Turkey’s “aggression against its neighbors” and said he is in talks with the Biden Administration about the hold he has on future US sales of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

Menendez, a Democrat, said in a brief hallway interview that while he still has concerns about Turkey, he could make a decision within the next week about the status of that hold.

His remarks came the day Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to forward to Parliament Sweden’s bid to become a member of the NATO military alliance. They also came before US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that US President Joe Biden will move forward with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in consultation with Congress.

Asked whether progress with Sweden’s accession might prompt him to reconsider his long-running hold on the fighter jets, Menendez said: “We’re having conversations with the administration.” He added, “If they (Biden Administration) can find a way to ensure that Turkey’s aggression against its neighbors ceases, which there has been a lull the last several months, that’s great but there has to be a permanent reality.”

Menendez also said that there needed to be a way to “beef up Greece’s security” and obtain “assurances about future actions.” [Reuters]

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