The No Jets for Turkey campaign, endorsed by multiple NGOs including American Friends of Kurdistan and Armenian National Committee of America, rose to the list of trending topics on Twitter in the United States on Thursday. The campaign urges U.S. citizens to petition their senators to oppose Turkey’s requests to purchase F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits.
“Turkey is an unreliable ally that has already been barred from such purchases because of its purchase of Russian air defence systems. We need to make sure Turkey cannot purchase F-16s or upgrade kits until it shows compliance with US and international law,” the campaigners say on their website.
Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems had already led to its removal from the joint development programme for the next generation stealth fighter jet F-35. Washington also imposed sanctions on Ankara as stipulated by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
“Not only did Turkey purchase a Russian missile defence system in direct opposition to NATO’s interests, but it also continues its illegal occupation of Cyprus and its constant threats against Greece’s airspace and territory. In short, Turkey’s behaviour in the region should not be rewarded with such a sale,” the campaigners say.
Senior U.S. officials have stated that the S-400s pose a security risk for NATO, according to Reuters.
U.S. lawmakers have also expressed concern over Turkey potentially purchasing more F-16s in an effort to revitalise its ageing fleet.
“We cannot afford to compromise our national security by sending U.S. manufactured aircraft to a treaty ally which continues to behave like an adversary,” 11 representatives from both the Republican and Democratic parties said in October last year in a letter addressed to U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Reuters reported.