Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D) joined members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues to comment on the Biden Administration’s statement on selling F-16’s to Turkey.
Last week, President Joe Biden (D) announced that the United States supported the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey at the request of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. The President also signaled optimism that Congress would vote in favor of arming Turkey.
In response to the President’s comments, Crist and the caucus members signaled their support albeit with some hesitancy, commenting that Biden “noted that before proceeding with any sale and transfer of weaponry Congress would need to approve. While Turkey’s relenting on their opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO is a welcome development, there are still too many outstanding issues to move forward with the sale of F-16s to Erdogan’s government.”
One issue the lawmakers highlighted is that “over the last decade, Turkey has not been a productive member of NATO nor a reliable ally to the U.S.”
In his comments to reporters, President Biden also addressed accusations of “quid pro quo.” The President said that the United States lending its support would not be “quid pro quo” after Ankara, the capital of Turkey, agreed to relenting its objection to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
“Since the beginning of 2022 Turkey has violated the airspace of fellow NATO ally Greece over 2,377 times, including 120 overflights over Greek territory,” the lawmakers noted, adding that “Turkey’s antagonistic actions in the Aegean Sea, as well as their hostile stance towards the Greek government, make it clear that they do not intend to suspend these aggressive and destabilizing actions soon.”
As a result, “if the United States were to proceed with the sale of F-16s, American-made warplanes would undoubtedly be used to enter Greek airspace.”
If this happened, it would be a violation of the Arms Export Control Act.”
The caucus’ full statement can be read here.