US launches ‘No F-16s for Turkey’ campaign

A council of Greek leaders in the US on Thursday launched a campaign calling on the US administration not to sell US F-16 fighter jets and upgrade kits to Turkey “until it demonstrates compliance with US and international law.”

Using the hashtag #NoJetsForTurkey, the campaign is calling on US citizens to ask their senators to speak out against Turkey’s request.

The authors of the campaign say that: “Turkey is an unreliable ally, which has already been banned from such purchases due to its purchase of Russian air defense systems. We must ensure that Turkey cannot also purchase F-16 aircraft or upgrade kits until it demonstrates compliance with US and international law.”

“Turkey not only acquired the Russian missile defense system in direct conflict with NATO interests, but also continues its illegal occupation of Cyprus, carrying out its constant threats to the airspace and the territory of Greece. In short, Turkey’s behavior in the region should not be “rewarded” by such a deal. Selling F-16s or upgrade kits to Turkey would set a dangerous precedent.”

The campaign is supported by ten organizations, including the Greek American Leadership Council, the Armenian National Committee of America, the International Coordinating Committee for Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), the American Greek Council of California, the American Friends of Kurdistan, “Indo-American Foundation”, “Middle East Forum”, “Project Philos”, “Call to Action for Christians” (Hellenic American Leadership Council, Armenian National Committee of America, International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), American Hellenic Council of California, American Friends of Kurdistan, Hindu American Foundation, Middle East Forum, Philos Project, A Demand for Action and In Defense of Christians).

The initiative offers a template for the public to contact their senators about the issue at the website:

According to the Greek General Staff, by 2022, Turkish aircraft have made at least 30 overflights of the Greek islands and violated Greek airspace at least 826 times.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Menendez also expressed his disagreement with the sale of American F-16 fighters to Turkey in a recent interview with the magazine airforce. “Personally, I don’t support giving them the F-16,” Menendez told Air Force Magazine.

However, the US administration believes that the potential sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey corresponds interests of national security. This was reported by Reuters on April 6, citing a letter from the State Department to Congress.

According to him, despite the strained US relations with Turkey, its defense ties with Ukraine are recognized as “an important deterrent against harmful influence in the region.” The Biden administration believes that Ankara has already “paid a significant price” for the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.

Erdogan has already reacted to this demarche: Turkey may consider purchasing Russian Su-57 aircraft if the US Congress refuses to sell it F-16 fighters.. This was reported on Monday by the Turkish newspaper Milliet.

Previously it was reported that Ankara asks Washington for 40 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and 80 Block 70 upgrade kits for Turkish F-16s already in service. If this request is not approved, the newspaper notes, Ankara will start looking for alternatives, among which will be the Russian Su-57.

The Milliet newspaper does not rule out that options for acquiring aircraft from France and Great Britain may also be considered. If the US Congress approves the F-16 deal, then these aircraft will be enough for the republic to meet its defense needs until Ankara puts into operation its own TF-X fighter, which has been developed since 2016, the publication adds.

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