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US Members of Congress oppose sale of F-16 to Turkey in letter to US Secretary of State Blinken

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Members of the US Congress have sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressing opposition both for the acquisition by Turkey of new F-16 fighter jets and the upgrading of existing ones.

The initiative belongs to Representatives Chris Pappas, Gus Bilirakis, and Carolyn Maloney and enjoys the support of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), as well as Armenian, Indian, and Kurdish organizations.

Turkey recently requested to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and to upgrade almost 80 of its existing fighter jets.

Turkey was cut off from the F-35 program (it had ordered 100 F-35 jets) in 2019 after it acquired Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

On October 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the US had “offered to sell a batch of F-16 fighter jets,” but the alleged sale has not yet been confirmed.

“One of the reasons Congress insisted on rejecting Turkey from the F-35 program was the significant dangers associated with the S-400 and F-35 merger. Experts note that the upgrade to Block 70 poses similar risks if Ankara continues to own Russian S-400s. Given that upgraded F-16s continue to play an important role for both us and our credible allies, this is a risk that we find unacceptable,” the Congressmen underline in the letter.