US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken “agrees” to the supply of F-16s to Turkey, but on the condition that they do not threaten Greece.
He commended the sale of F-16 aircraft to Ankara and made his position very clear: the US does not want US defense systems to be used on issues where NATO allies disagree.
During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Democratic Congressman David Cicilini raised the issue of Turkey’s F-16 fleet violating Greek sovereignty. He noted that Ankara does not want to give guarantees that the upgraded fighters will not be used to violate Greek airspace. Given that these actions undermine the unity of NATO, the US Congressman asked Anthony Blinken what steps the administration has taken to ensure that US weapons are not used to threaten key US allies and partners, as is the case in Greece, Cyprus and northern Syria.
Mr. Blinken reaffirmed the administration’s long standing stance that supports the modernization and sale of new Turkish fighter jets to ensure interoperability within the NATO alliance. But he hastened to clarify that the government wants to make sure that this equipment will not be used to stir up disputes within the alliance, quotes CNN Greece:
“At the heart of our efforts – whether with Turkey, whether with Greece, whether with any other NATO ally – is to make sure they have the equipment and technology they need to be fully interoperable with NATO so that they can do what they need to do as NATO allies.At the same time, we want to make sure that to the extent that there are differences between them, any equipment or technology that we provide is not used to further exacerbate those differences.We We believe that Turkey should get upgraded F-16s and upgrade packages.We believe this is important for NATO, important for the alliance.At the same time, we are working diligently to make sure that any tension that exists between NATO allies is in this case between Greece and Turkey, softens, and they do not take actions or rhetoric that could escalate the situation.”
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