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Pressure on Biden: "Don't sell F-16s to Turkey!"

There are new developments regarding the F-35 crisis between Turkey and the United States. After Turkey bought the S-400 from Russia, The USA announced that it would impose sanctions on Turkey and exclude Turkey from the F-35 program. On top of that, it was announced that the money paid for the F-35s could be used for the purchase and modernization of the F-16s. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that US President Joe Biden had to go through a process in the US for the F-16 request and expressed that he had a positive outlook on this offer. But it seems that the majority in the US does not agree with Biden. Or is it fear underlying this reluctance?

In the US, the demands of senators to 'do not sell F-16s to Turkey' to President Joe Biden are intensifying day by day. A similar statement came from Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo said that selling Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets to Turkey after an agreement for more advanced F-35s was cancelled would be a violation of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Pompeo: "Our government should never take any action that violates CAATSA. I hope the government will comply with US law." made the statement on a Greek channel.

Another letter came from 41 congressmen of the US.  They wrote to Foreign Minister Antony Blinken not to sell F-16s to Turkey: ‘If Ankara continues to have Russian S-400s, supplying Turkey with F-16 modernization equipment poses a risk. We share your goal of having Turkey's roots in the West, but we cannot achieve that goal if Erdogan's government is allowed to avoid being held accountable for violating US law and failing to meet NATO standards," the letter said. In the letter, the following four items were listed briefly as to why Turkey's F-16 request should be rejected.

“(1) Less than a year after the implementation of the CAATSA sanctions, the Erdogan government has made it clear that it has no intention of addressing the underlying conditions that led to Turkey's exclusion from the F-35 program. Indeed, in September, President Erdogan announced his intention to purchase additional S-400s.

(2) President Biden's nominee for Ambassador to Turkey, former Senator Jeff Flake, explained in the Congressional approval session that if Turkey acquires additional Russian weapons systems, it should face additional CAATSA sanctions. Since the stance of both the Administration and Congress is the same, even putting into the F-16 Request Letter process, under the current circumstances sends a false signal to Turkey and casts doubt on our determination as (Turkey) continues to develop its military relations with Russia.

(3) One of the reasons why Congress insisted that Turkey be excluded from the F-35 program was because of the significant risks associated with the combined use of the S-400s and F-35s. Experts state that providing F-16 modernization kits to Turkey poses similar risks if Ankara continues to have Russian S-400s.

(4) Finally, given the current CAATSA sanctions, we anticipate that such a sale can only be concluded by applying different technical formulas. Such a case should be viewed as an improper circumvention of Congress and would force us to consider additional legislation to restrict a potential purchase. We share your goal of a Western-rooted Turkey, but we cannot achieve it if the Erdogan government avoids accountability for violating US law and the standards of the NATO alliance.”

The root of the problem here cannot be explained solely with hostility towards Turkey or Russia. With even Biden taking a positive stance on F16, what scares US Congressmen? The answer to this question is very simple: Strong Turkey scares the West! Consequently, Turkey will either get back the money it paid before, or it will get the F16s and modernization kits it demands in return for money. In other words, Turkey does not demand too much here, it only wants what it deserves!