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25 July, 2024
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Senate defies calls to halt F-16 sale to Turkey

US senators clash over F-16 sale to controversial ally


In a decisive vote on Thursday, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly dismissed a resolution proposed by Republican Senator Rand Paul to block the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

With 78 senators opposing the resolution and only 13 in favor, the rejection was widely anticipated, especially given public endorsements from key committee leaders.

During the Senate debate, lawmakers from both parties criticized Turkey for its perceived unreliability and actions contrary to American interests. Concerns were raised over Turkey's human rights violations, its aggressive maneuvers in regions like the Caucasus and northern Syria, and its confrontational stance toward Greece.

Senator Paul condemned Turkey's belligerent rhetoric towards Greece and its support for Hamas, questioning the wisdom of supplying advanced weaponry to a country with such dubious allegiances. Similarly, other senators highlighted Turkey's record of aggressive military actions, including incidents endangering U.S. forces in Syria.

However, proponents of the F-16 sale argued that honoring the agreement with Sweden, which is contingent upon Turkey's upgrade of its aging fighter fleet, is crucial for NATO solidarity. They emphasized the strategic importance of Turkey as a NATO member and the need to bolster its defense capabilities, especially amid regional tensions and Russian aggression.

Despite widespread criticism of Turkey's behavior, senators like Ben Cardin emphasized the strategic imperative of strengthening NATO's southern flank, where Turkey plays a pivotal role in safeguarding regional stability. Meanwhile, Minority Leader Jim Reese underscored the importance of honoring diplomatic agreements while acknowledging Turkey's shortcomings as an ally.

The Senate's rejection of the resolution underscores the complex dynamics shaping U.S.-Turkey relations and the strategic considerations influencing defense policy in a volatile geopolitical landscape.

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  NATO  |  USA

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