Biden asks Congress to approve F-16 arms deal with Turkey - WSJ
The Biden administration has asked congressional leaders to approve the sale of advanced weapons and other equipment for Turkey’s fleet of F-16 jet fighters, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The proposed weapons sale would include missiles, radar and electronics for Turkey’s F-16s, representing a significant upgrade for the country’s jet fighters, The Wall Street Journal said.
US President Joe Biden sent the proposal to congressional leaders last month. The deal is expected to be worth around $400 million.
Ankara’s mediation role to resolve the Ukraine conflict has helped repair ties with Washington and could set the stage for sale of F-16 jet fighters, The Wall Street Journal said.
The United States removed Turkey from coproduction of the next generation F-35 fighter jet after Ankara purchased the S-400 ground-to-air missile system from Russia in 2019. Turkey’s state-owned defence procurement company was later penalised for the deal by the U.S. Congress under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
U.S. officials familiar with the request said that the Biden administration may use the deal to gauge the level of support in Congress for a separate proposal to sell 40 new F-16s to Turkey, according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Thursday, Democratic congressman Frank Pallone, strongly condemned the proposed weapons sale to Turkey, saying that Washington must not reward Turkey, given the Erdoğan regime’s long record of human rights abuses, destabilising actions, and failure to live up to NATO commitments.
“I cannot support any Congressional action that would help Turkey increase its military arsenal,” Pallone, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said via Twitter.
Turkey is facilitating Russia-Ukraine peace talks and backing the Ukrainian military to repair its frayed relations with Washington and to buy new weapons.
(This story is updated by U.S. Congressman Pallone's statement at 7th paragraph.)