“Rep. Chris Pappas has drafted a bill calling for strict oversight of US sales of F-16 fighter jets and related equipment due to security concerns for NATO ally Greece,” reports thehill.com.
The amendment restricts the president from selling or transferring F-16s or F-16 modernization kits to Turkey unless the president can certify to Congress that Turkey “has not violated the sovereignty of Greece” for at least 120 days before sale or transfer.
The amendment defines violations as “territorial overflight or violation of the Athens Flight Information Area of the International Civil Aviation Organization.”
Chris Pappas’ proposed amendment marks the first concrete effort by lawmakers to curb President Biden’s intention to boost Turkey’s F-16 fleet and as Ankara pushes the US to hand over more of the critical warplanes.
The State Department has informed Congress that it plans to sell military equipment to modernize Turkey’s existing fleet of F-16s, and Biden late last month voiced his support for selling the jets to Ankara.
The president, speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid last month, rejected suggestions that the sales served as a concession for Ankara to drop its objections to Finland and Sweden applying to the defense alliance.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va) told The Hill after the Greek prime minister’s speech that lawmakers could use the 2023 NDAA as a vehicle to address concerns about Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean.
“You may see us take on some aspects of that as we do the NDAA this year, in the area of military sales or military cooperation,” he said, but added that the military relationship between the U.S. and Turkey “is still strong.”
“It’s at the diplomatic and senior elected level where things are really difficult right now,” he said.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) and HALC to Congress: Turkey used existing fleet of US F-16s to violate Greek airspace
“On behalf of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), we are writing to ask for your support for a bipartisan amendment to the NDAA sponsored by Representatives Chris Pappas, Gus Bilirakis, David Cicilline, Nicole Malliotakis, Frank Pallone and Carolyn Maloney to restrict the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.
Turkish violations of Greek sovereign airspace and armed overflights over Aegean islands are at dangerous levels, posing a real threat to peace and stability in the region. In addition, Turkey conducts provocative and dangerous naval exercises – sometimes with live ammunition – in Greek territorial waters and around inhabited islands.
Despite these aggressive provocations by the Erdogan administration, the US administration has signaled that it is open to considering a request by the Republic of Turkey to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing massive fleet of warplanes .
Selling new F-16s and upgrade kits to Turkey would undermine American law, values, and interests. Turkey has already used its existing fleet of US F-16s to breach Greek airspace.
A wide range of experts have consistently expressed concerns about co-deploying upgraded F-16s in the same theater as the Russian S-400s, which Turkey also has.
The Pappas amendment would prohibit the United States from selling F-16 and F-16 modernization kits and upgrade technologies to Turkey unless Congress receives certification that Turkey has not violated Greece’s sovereignty — specifically through territorial overflights or violations of internationally recognized Flight Information Area of Greece. We hope you will support this important amendment.”