US Congressman Chris Pappas targets F-16 sales to Turkey over Greek security concerns

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The House Rules Committee has voted to include an amendment by US Congressman and Democrat, Chris Pappas, in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023, which would prohibit the sale of F-16s or modernisation kits to Turkey unless certain conditions are met.  

According to Ekathimerini, the amendment requires the US President to certify that “such a transfer is in the national interest of the United States” and requires “concrete steps taken to ensure that such F-16s are not used by Turkey for repeated unauthorised territorial overflights of Greece.”

The amendment however, leaves a window open that allows the president to override the restrictions if he certifies to Congress that doing so is in the vital interest of US national security.

Congressman Pappas proposed the amendment earlier this week. It was the first concrete effort by lawmakers to constrain US President Biden’s intent to strengthen Turkey’s F-16 fleet.

The State Department has notified Congress it intends to sell military equipment to modernise Turkey’s existing fleet of F-16’s, and Biden late last month expressed support for selling the jets to Ankara.

Congressman Pappas has consistently opposed the sale of F-16s to Turkey and said in a press release that “Turkey’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric and aggression towards Greece, a reliable democratic NATO ally, cannot be ignored.”

Current jets used by Turkey.

“It is deeply concerning to me and many in Congress that President Biden supports moving forward with this sale while Turkey has failed to address the issues that led to its ejection from the F-35 program and the imposition of CAATSA sanctions more than three years ago,” the Congressman added.

In May, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, also addressed the issue during a joint session of US Congress.

In his speech, Mitsotakis warned the US to consider carefully “defence procurement decisions concerning the eastern Mediterranean” that could contribute to “instability on NATO’s south-eastern flank.”

Source: Ekathimerini.

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