“We believe that the strengthening of the NATO Alliance implies an increase in membership from 30 to 32” declares the US
“Psychrolousia” in Ankara. Congress has a point about the sale of F-16 to Turkey, the spokesman of the State Department, Ned Price, explained during the regular briefing of diplomatic editors, while he explained that “the strengthening of the NATO Alliance entails the increase of members from 30 to 32”.
In particular, answering a question from APE-MPE about whether the accession process of Sweden and Finland has become a condition for the F-16s, Mr. Price clarified that the American government continues to politically support Turkey’s request, recognizing, but at the same time that Congress is called upon to play a role in this process.
As he emphasized, “in our political system, these are decisions that are not left to the executive power alone. These are the forms of decisions for which our legislators, our colleagues in Congress, have a say.” He also noted the following regarding the attitude of American lawmakers: “We have made clear to Congress our support for the F-16. Congress has made its position clear, or should I say individual senators – or groups of senators, in some cases – have made their positions clear.”
It is recalled that on Friday 27 senators, both Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to President Biden asking him not to approve the sale of F-16s until Turkey consents to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. In his response, the US State Department spokesman praised Turkey’s role in NATO, assuring that the government’s official position on the F-16s has not changed. But he declined to comment on whether there is a reason the State Department has delayed formally informing Congress of Turkey’s request. Given that the technical talks between the two countries have been completed, it is now up to the US administration to choose when to forward the defense contract to the relevant congressional committees.
The question of the correspondent of APE-MPE and the answer of the representative of the State Department, Ned Price, are the following:
Question: Today 27 senators, both Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to President Biden asking him not to approve the sale of the F-16s until Turkey agrees to allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Do you share the same position about selling them? Can you explain to us, now that the technical talks have been completed, why you are delaying sending the official briefing to Congress?
Answer Ned Price: We’ve had a chance to talk about this both over the past few weeks, but going back to the summer, when President Biden was sitting next to President Erdogan in Madrid during the NATO summit, President Biden made it very clear that the U.S. supports the supply of F-16s to Turkey. Turkey, of course, is a NATO ally, it has legitimate security concerns. We want to do everything we can to see that it is fully integrated into the NATO Alliance. This explains our support for the F-16.
In our political system, these are decisions that they are not left to the executive branch alone. These are the types of decisions that our legislators, our colleagues in Congress, have a say in. We have made clear to Congress our support for the F-16. Congress has made its position clear, or should I say individual senators – or groups of senators, in some cases – have made their positions clear.
We continue to talk with Turkey. We continue to talk to Congress. But our point is that Turkey is a valuable ally in NATO. Its role in the alliance has been very important over the decades. And so we will continue to find ways to work with Turkey as we seek to make the NATO alliance even stronger. And we believe that the strengthening of the NATO Alliance implies an increase in membership from 30 to 32.
Finland and Sweden have expressed their ambitions to join the alliance. Not only have they expressed their aspirations, but 28 of the 30 countries of the alliance have ratified the Articles of Accession. The US Senate did so in record time or near record time for such a treaty. So there is overwhelming cross-party support for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. It is something that the government strongly supports. We believe both countries are ready, and these are countries with advanced militaries. They are advanced democracies and they are able to make the alliance that we belong to and Turkey belongs to, and 28 other countries belong to, even stronger than it already is.
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