US congressmen vote to make F-16 sale to Türkiye harder
The United States Congress has adopted a brief legislation to make the prospected sale of 40 F-16 warplanes and modernization kits to Türkiye more difficult following the intervention of a number of congressmen close to the Greek lobby.
The House of Representatives approved the measure, tabled by Democratic Representatives Frank Pallone and Chris Pappas, as an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, by 244 to 179, during a vote late July 14.
Dubbed the Pallone/Pappas amendment, it prohibits the F-16 sale to Türkiye unless U.S. President Joe Biden provides “a detailed description of concrete steps” to ensure that the fighter jets are not used to violate Greek airspace. Biden should also prove that the sale will be in the national interest of the U.S.
Türkiye has requested to purchase 40 F-16 jet fighters and 80 modernization kits for its existing fleet from the United States after the latter excluded it from the F-35 joint fighter program in reaction to Türkiye’s deployment of S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
Biden has already expressed his support for the sale while he was underlining the need for congressional approval for a foreign arms sale. Following their meeting in Madrid on the sidelines of the NATO summit, Erdoğan said he agreed with Biden to send a new delegation to Washington to lobby for the sale of these jet fighters to Türkiye.
Biden, at a press conference in Madrid, stated: “I said back in December, as you’ll recall, we should sell them the F-16 jets and modernize those jets as well,” he said. “It’s not in our interest not to do that. And there was no quid pro quo with that. It was just that we should sell, but I need congressional approval to be able to do that. And I think we can get that.”
Following the vote in the House of Representatives, the legislation should also be voted in the Senate.