US Senator aims to block $20 billion F-16 deal with NATO member Turkiye


US Senator aims to block $20 billion F-16 deal with NATO member Turkiye

An F-16 Fighting Falcon of the Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) takes off on a sortie from Third Air Force Base Konya, Turkey throughout Exercise Anatolian Eagle. Image: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: Accusing the President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan of ‘undermining international law’, a key senate member has vowed to block the Biden administration’s plan to proceed with a $20 billion F-16 deal with Turkiye.

In October 2021 Turkiye requested the United States to purchase 40 new F-16 fighter jets and 80 modernisation kits for its current fleet. The State Department, in accordance to a Reuters report, on 12 January knowledgeable the Senate and House committees that it supposed to proceed with the proposed deal.

However, Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has objected to the Biden administration’s choice to go ahead with the deal.

Menendez has been a protracted outspoken critic of the deal.

“As I have repeatedly made clear, I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s proposed sale of new F-16 aircraft to Turkiye”, he stated in a press release launched after the State Department expressed its intention to push by means of the deal.

He accused Erdogan of “disregarding human rights and engaging in alarming and destabilising behaviour in Turkiye and against neighbouring NATO allies”— a reference to the Turkish president’s threatening speeches in opposition to Greece not too long ago.

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez is an influential voice on arms gross sales and will attempt to push by means of a decision condemning the deal with Turkiye.

Leverage in opposition to Turkiye

Sweden and Finland, each of which both share a border with Russia or have shut geographical proximity with it, have more and more change into alarmed about their defence after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The two Nordic states have utilized for NATO membership, however to this point Hungary and Turkiye haven’t ratified their accession to the safety bloc. To be a part of NATO they want all the present members to ratify their accession. While Hungary has stated that it’s going to ratify the recession in February, Turkiye has not but set a date for approval.

The US is anticipating to use the f-16 deal as leverage to make Turkiye approve Sweden and accession Finland’s bid. Reportedly, Congress gained’t give the deal the inexperienced gentle till Turkey agrees to settle for the Nordic states into NATO.

Turkiye, earlier in 2019, was disqualified by the US to purchase its newest fighter jet, the F-35, after it purchased the S-400 air defence techniques from Russia.

Turkiye’s rival and neighbour Greece can be making an attempt to purchase the F-35 jets.

With inputs from businesses

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