Turkey, which was removed from the F-35 program, had a request from the USA to buy the F-16 and a new modernization kit. Moderate messages have increased recently on the issue, which has been going on for months, and US President Joe Biden, who supported the sale, pointed to the congress. In the final version of the National Defense Authorization Law (NDAA), which includes the 2023 defense budget of the USA, the articles that were put by the House of Representatives to limit the purchase of F-16s by Turkey were also removed.
ITEMS BINDING THE F-16 SALE TO RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN RELEASED
The conference committee, which includes senators and representatives from both houses of the US Congress, finalized the NDAA bill, which includes the defense budget of 857 billion dollars.
The final version of the text of the bill to be voted in the general assembly of the two wings of the congress has emerged.
In the final version of the bill, it was presented to Turkey by 18 representatives, including New Hampshire Representative Democrat Chris Pappas, who is known for his closeness to the Greek Cypriot lobby, Florida Representative Republican Gus Bilirakis, New York Representative Republican Nicole Malliotakis and New Jersey Representative Democrat Frant Pallone, which was added to the House of Representatives version of the bill and accepted. There were no clauses tying F-16 sales to restrictive conditions.
The removal of the relevant clauses came after similar clauses previously submitted by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and Maryland Senator Chris van Hollen were not included in the Senate version of the NDAA bill.
“AFTER CONCRETE STEPS ARE PROVIDED, THE PRESIDENT CAN APPLY AN EXEMPTION TO THIS ARTICLE”
With the said additions accepted in the House of Representatives, it was stipulated that no new F-16 sales to Turkey and F-16 modernization kits would not be sold within the scope of the Arms Export Control Law, while the exemption of this article was subject to the following conditions:
“After concrete steps are presented to the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives to ensure that the sale in question touches on important national security interests of the United States and that these weapons do not repeatedly violate Greek airspace, the president may apply an exemption from this clause.”
While the items submitted by Menendez and van Hollen were not added to the Senate bill, the bill submitted by Pappas and his supporters was approved and added in the House of Representatives on July 14.
It is stated that the efforts of Turkish diplomats and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Washington were influential in this step from the Congress.
With the removal of the relevant articles in the conference committee, the US Congress’s trump card to impose some restrictions on Turkey’s F-16 purchase on the grounds of law was taken away from the hands of the US Congress.
On the other hand, congress members, especially Menendez, who are known to be anti-Turkey and close to the Greek Cypriot lobby, declare that they will prevent the sale of F-16s to Turkey at every opportunity.
TURKEY DEMANDS F-16 AND MODERNIZATION KIT
Turkey requests 40 new F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and modernization kits for 80 aircraft in its inventory from the USA.