ref:topbtw-3231.html/ 5 Febbraio 2021/A
Members of Congress Sign Bipartisan Letter Opposing F-16 Sale to Turkey
The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomed a bipartisan letter, spearheaded by Congressional
Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), addressed to
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken,
rejecting the recent proposal by Turkey to purchase Block 70 F-16 fighter jets as well
as mechanical upgrades to F-16s from the United States.
The letter states in part:
"Approving this proposal would reward President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for ignoring both Turkey's alliance commitments
to the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the vast human rights
abuses his regime continues to commit at home and abroad."
Turkey has destabilized multiple regions around the world, including the Eastern Mediterranean,
Middle East, North Africa, and particularly the South Caucasus, when F-16s were used against the Armenian
people during the 44-day war in Artsakh in the Fall of 2020.
Turkey deployed its lethal and armed unmanned aerial vehicle, the Bayraktar TB2, to cause irreparable
damage to civilians and civilian infrastructure, which was confirmed by satellite images.
The letter continues:
"The purchase of advanced fighter jets from the United States for Turkey's military arsenal...
will more likely lead to further death and destruction in the region at the hands of his [Erdogan] military."
Erdogan also continues to
"jeopardize American national security" by utilizing the Russian-manufactured S-400 missile defense systems, which can expose "important tactical information about U.S. weaponry and military operations to Russia," in an attempt to "pit the United States and Russia against each other."
The letter highlights Erdogan's human rights abuses in Turkey, the suppression of civil society,
the promotion of unfair elections, and the restriction of freedom of speech, leading to the detainment
of a Turkish journalist last week who was arrested for reportedly insulting Erdogan.
The letter concludes:
"We strongly urge you to reject Turkey's request for new F-16s and modernization kits and take immediate action to hold the Erdo?an regime accountable.
The United States must not provide any further support to Turkey's military until President Erdo?an takes
tangible steps to halt his destabilizing actions and violations of international
law at home and abroad."
"Congress and the American people are well aware that Turkey, under the Erdogan regime, has become
an unreliable ally that has placed U.S. interests at risk," said Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan.
"We applaud Reps. Pallone and Bilirakis for spearheading this important initiative with the Administration."
Pallone and Bilirakis on the letter are Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katie Porter (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Valadao (R-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Susan Wild (D-PA).
( GAGRULE )