35 lawmakers in the United States sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Friday expressing opposition to the potential sale of F-16 fighter planes and mechanical upgrades to Turkey because of ‘vast human rights abuses committed at home and abroad’ by the administration of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Representative Frank Pallone on Saturday made public the bipartisan letter and posted a copy on Twitter, saying, “We must not support Turkey’s military until tangible steps are taken to stop Erdoğan’s destabilising actions and violations of international law.”
The lawmakers said that Erdoğan’s regime ‘has repeatedly used its military power to destabilize the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, South Caucasus, and North Africa for years.’
“Turkish-backed forces have utilized American-made weaponry and components during these incursions to commit war crimes, including purposefully bombing civilian targets like hospitals and schools in Iraq, Syria, and Nagorno Karabakh. They have also been used repeatedly to violate the sovereign territory of NATO allies and partners like Greece and Cyprus. These are hardly the actions of a committed ally to the United States and Europe. The sale of American advanced fighter jets to Turkey will not incentivize Erdoğan to suddenly transform into a good ally. More likely, these weapons will lead to further death and destruction in the region.”
“As your Administration seeks to advance the sale of new F-16s and modernization kits to Turkey, please know that we will take every action afforded to us as Members of Congress to prevent it from moving forward. Precedent shows that Erdoğan will not change his behavior if we continue to reward his efforts to undermine the NATO alliance. The United States must not provide any further support to Turkey’s military until tangible steps are taken to halt his destabilizing actions and violations of international law at home and abroad.”