Pallone issues bipartisan letter pledging opposition to sale of F-16s to Turkey

U.S. Representative Frank Pallone on Saturday released the bipartisan letter, signed by 35 congressional lawmakers, sent to President Joe Biden expressing his opposition to the proposed sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

Pallone posted a copy of the letter on Twitter, saying “we must not support the Turkish military until tangible steps are taken to stop Erdogan’s destabilizing actions and violations of international law.”

The other signatories of the letter were: Karen Bass, Gus M. Bilirakis, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, David N. Cicilline, Jim Costa, Mike Doyle, Anna G. Eshoo, Brian Fitzpatrick, Chuck Fleischmann, Louie Gohmert, Josh Gottheimer, Raúl M. Grijalva, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Susie Lee, Ted W. Lieu, Nicole Malliotakis, Carolyn B. Maloney, James P. McGovern, Grace Meng, Grace F. Napolitano, Chris Pappas, Donald Payne, Linda T. Sánchez, John Sarbanes , Jan Schakowsky, Adam B. Schiff, Brad Sherman, Albio Sires, Christopher H. Smith, Jackie Speier, David G. Valadao and Peter Welch.

“We strongly called for this sale to be rejected as it would reward President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for ignoring Turkey’s alliance commitments with the United States and NATO and the vast human rights violations that his regime continues to commit at home and abroad,” the letter said.

“Selling advanced US fighter jets to Turkey will not make Erdogan suddenly turn into a good ally. More likely, these weapons will cause further death and destruction in the region,” he said.

“The precedents show that Erdogan will not change his behavior if we continue to reward his efforts to undermine the NATO alliance. The United States should no longer provide support to the Turkish military until tangible steps are taken to end its destabilizing actions and violations of international law at home and abroad.

Below is the full letter.

Dear President Biden,

We are deeply concerned by comments made on June 30 at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Madrid, Spain, on the potential sale of Block 70 F-16s and upgrades mechanics to Turkey. We strongly called for this sale to be rejected as it would reward President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for ignoring Turkey’s alliance commitments with the United States and NATO and the vast human rights abuses that his regime continues to commit at home and abroad.

Erdogan has always chosen to prioritize divisive tactics for personal gain above the collective good of his allies. His choice to prevent Finland and Sweden from joining NATO until he receives absurd and unrelated concessions clearly shows that he has done the bare minimum to strengthen NATO’s strategic posture since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered the biggest crisis the alliance had faced in decades.

Erdogan’s use of alarming tactics contrary to the common good of the NATO alliance should come as no surprise. His regime has repeatedly used its military power to destabilize the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, the South Caucasus and North Africa for years. Turkish and Turkish-backed forces have used American-made weapons and components in these incursions to commit war crimes, including deliberately bombing civilian targets such as hospitals and schools in Iraq, Syria and the rest of the world. Nagorno-Karabakh. They have also been repeatedly used to violate the sovereign territory of NATO allies and partners such as Greece and Cyprus. These are not the actions of a committed ally of the United States and Europe.

Selling advanced US fighter jets to Turkey will not make Erdogan suddenly turn into a good ally. More likely, these weapons will cause further death and destruction in the region. Turkey also continues to use S-400 missile defense systems, which potentially expose Russia to important tactical information about US weaponry and military operations.

Moreover, Erdogan’s regime continues to promote unfair elections, suppress civil society and violate human rights at home to maintain its grip on power. With Turkey’s economy in decline and Erdogan’s position at rock bottom, the media directly controlled by his repressive ruling party will use any major arms sale as propaganda to support him as they have already done with the concessions won. at the NATO summit.

As your administration seeks to advance the sale of new F-16s and retrofit kits to Turkey, know that we will take every step available to us as members of Congress to prevent it from going the wrong way. ‘before. The precedents show that Erdogan will not change his behavior if we continue to reward his efforts to undermine the NATO alliance. The United States should no longer provide support to the Turkish military until tangible steps are taken to end its destabilizing actions and violations of international law at home and abroad.

We appreciate your attention to these concerns and look forward to your timely response.

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