USA: Letter from American Congressmen to Blinken on the acquisition of additional S-400 from Turkey

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In their letter, the MPs speak of a flagrant violation of US law, while also warning of the security risks inherent in the possible co-location of the upgraded F-16 fighters with the S-400s.

18 American congressmen express their strong concern about the possible acquisition of additional S-400 from Turkey in a letter sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anthony Blinken. Congressman Chris Papas, who played a leading role in the NDAA for the F-16, also coordinated this new effort.

In their letter, the MPs speak of a flagrant violation of US law, while also warning of the security risks inherent in the possible co-location of the upgraded F-16 fighters with the S-400s. In this light, the American parliamentarians ask Anthony Blinken to be informed within the next month about the status of the negotiations with Turkey for the F-16 fighters, but also about the measures taken by the State Department to ensure that there will be no security risks, and that US-Turkey defense cooperation will fully comply with US law.

For his part, the executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Eddie Zemenidis, who coordinates the “No Jets for Turkey” coalition’s initiatives, expressed the coalition’s satisfaction with this congressional initiative. This coalition includes Jewish, Armenian, Kurdish and Christian organizations.

“Once again, Congress is taking the lead on the issue of US defense relations with Turkey. Although the Biden administration has not yet moved forward with the F-16 upgrade and sale, it is also not sending the right signals to Turkey and letting the Erdogan administration move forward with the impression that the US is the one to back down on the S -400. Fortunately, Congress is consistently coming back and making it clear that the upgrade and sale cannot proceed without certain conditions,” said Eddie Zemenidis.

The letter from the US Congressmen to Anthony Blinken

“We are writing to express our concern regarding reports that Turkey is considering further acquisitions of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. Twenty months after Turkey was sanctioned under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Erdogan government has not only failed to comply with CAATSA, but has now made it clear that it intends to commit a still a flagrant violation of the law.

As noted in a letter we sent you on November 1, 2021, one of the reasons Congress insisted on expelling Turkey from the F-35 program was because of the significant risks associated with co-locating the S-400 and F -35. Experts have noted that providing Turkey with modernized F-16s carries similar risks if Ankara continues to possess the Russian S-400s. those risks unacceptable in November, and we find them even more unacceptable today.

As Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine continues, we cannot have a NATO member commit to military cooperation with Vladimir Putin’s regime. This undermines US policy in Ukraine, regional peace and stability, and the very desire for unity in the NATO alliance, (a desire) that the State Department presented to Congress as the reason why upgrading and the F-16 sale to Turkey.

During his confirmation hearing, US Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake said Turkey would face additional CAATSA sanctions if it acquires additional Russian weapons systems. This is no longer a hypothetical question, and Turkey’s continued violation of not only US law, but also the expectations of a NATO ally, must be addressed immediately.

Under the current circumstances, we must reiterate our objection to the modernization or sale of new F-16s to Turkey. We are asking to be updated within the next 30 days on the status of the negotiations with Turkey for the F-16s, how the co-location issues will be resolved – especially in light of the additional S-400s that are coming to add to our concerns – and what steps the administration is taking to ensure that the US-Turkey defense relationship complies with CAATSA and other concerns raised by Congress. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and we await your response.”

RES-EMP

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