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Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Reps. Sarbanes, Pappas join colleagues in expressing concerns with Turkey’s missile defense systems, F-16

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A group of lawmakers recently forwarded correspondence to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, indicating concerns about Turkey reportedly considering acquiring Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

U.S. Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Chris Pappas (D-NH) joined 18 colleagues in also restating opposition to and requesting an update from Blinken on the reported sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Turkey by the United States.

“Twenty months since the imposition of sanctions on Turkey pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Erdogan government has not only failed to come into compliance with CAATSA but has now made it clear that it intends to commit another flagrant violation of the law,” the legislators wrote. “As Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine continues, we cannot have a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member commit to military cooperation with the regime of Vladimir Putin. This undermines U.S. policy in Ukraine, regional peace and stability, and the very NATO alliance unity considerations the State Department has cited to Congress as the reason for considering F-16 upgrades and sales for Turkey.”

The letter details the lawmakers’ objection to the sale of F-16 modernization kits and/or new F-16s to Turkey.

“We request a briefing within the next 30 days, including an update on the status of negotiations with Turkey on F-16s, how collocation concerns – especially in light of additional S-400s entering the theater of concern – are being resolved, and what steps the Administration is taking to ensure the U.S.-Turkish defense relationship complies with CAATSA and other concerns of Congress,” the legislators concluded.