November 30, 2023

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The prominent Republican says Menendez’s ouster improves prospects for selling F-16s to Turkey

The prominent Republican says Menendez’s ouster improves prospects for selling F-16s to Turkey

“I’m reading the tea leaves, and he was one of the four that is kind of still holding on, so I think it’s more likely to be approved — but Sweden has to be accepted into NATO.” eaten (R-Texas) said in a brief interview. “We say we won’t take that into account if you’re going to play hard against Sweden.”

Turkey is seeking 40 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin, and White House officials said in July that they planned to move forward with transferring them to the NATO ally, a day after Ankara pledged to approve Sweden’s NATO membership. The administration said the two cases were not related.

But congressional guards said Turkey must also repair its relations with Greece after several clashes before allowing the sale.

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week, McCaul said he expected a clear path on the issue: “I don’t see it hindering the process.”

Menendez, who faces federal charges of illegally receiving money and gold in exchange for aid to the Egyptian government and his business partners in New Jersey, stepped down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday while he remains under indictment.

Erdogan This came in statements published on Tuesday With Menendez’s exit, he sees “an opportunity to accelerate the process related to the F-16 aircraft,” through further talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.

“One of our most important problems regarding the F-16 aircraft was the activities of US Senator Bob Menendez against our country,” Erdogan told reporters on the flight back from Azerbaijan.

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Erdogan added: “Menendez’s exit gives us an advantage, but the F-16 issue is not an issue that depends solely on Menendez.”

McCaul Menendez, ranking member for Senate Foreign Relations Jim Resch (Republican from Idaho), ranking member for foreign affairs in the House of Representatives Gregory Meeks (DN.Y.) They all opposed the sale of the aircraft to Ankara for overlapping reasons. Menendez was the most vocal about his demand that Türkiye calm tensions with its neighbours.

This week, Meeks still isn’t willing to budge. First, the Turkish Parliament is expected to ratify Sweden’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and that Turkey will continue to calm tensions with its neighbors, and work with NATO to confront illicit Russian financial flows.

“I have some of the same type of issues that Mr. Menendez had. “All of those things are important to me,” Meeks said in a brief interview.

“I want to make sure that we have a real, strong NATO ally that is there so we can work together. “I’ve had dialogue and conversation,” he added. “It’s a wait-and-see game now.”

Risch said Wednesday that nothing had changed about his opposition to F-16 transfers. He declined to comment on Menendez’s situation or Erdogan’s specific comments, but said he was “very frustrated” with the Turkish leader.

“Erdogan could have solved this problem a long time ago. I told them directly that until Finland and Sweden join NATO, the F-16s won’t move, period. He knows that,” Risch said in an interview.

Regarding the issue of relations between Turkey and Greece, Risch said he was “satisfied with the parties working in good faith to reduce tensions” and praised the “significant progress.”

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Sin. Ben Cardin (Democrat from Maryland), who is expected to replace Menendez as Senate foreign relations chief, declined on Wednesday to tell reporters how he would handle the matter once he takes office.

Other lawmakers outside the leadership of the committees overseeing US foreign policy are taking a tough stance to pressure the administration. Although not as influential as the committee’s leaders, these lawmakers pushed for legislation to tie the administration’s hands in the sales process.

“When it comes to Turkey obtaining F-16 aircraft, nothing has changed,” the Republican senator said. Chris Van Hollen (Democrat from Maryland), a staunch critic of Turkey, said in a statement. “The US Congress will not accept any sale until certain conditions are met. I will continue to press to ensure that Turkey does not acquire F-16s until Sweden is accepted into NATO and until we see a commitment from Turkey to respect Greek airspace and stop its aggression towards our Syrian Kurdish allies.

There is also a lot of resistance to the fighter sale in the House. Lawmakers last year erected a roadblock to Biden’s efforts to sell F-16s to Türkiye Defense policy billPrimarily led by Democrats.

This provision – which would have prevented the transfer of aircraft unless the administration demonstrated to Congress that the sale was critical to US national security and that the warplanes would not be used to violate Greek airspace – did not survive negotiations with the Senate over Defense bill settlement.

representative. Chris Pappas (D.N.H.), co-chair of the Pan-Hellenic Caucus and sponsor of the House provision to limit the sale, pledged to continue working to prevent it.

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“Regardless of who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the fact of the matter is that both the House and Senate have made clear their opposition to these sales,” Pappas said in a statement. “I will continue to work alongside my colleagues in the Greek caucus and in the House of Representatives as a whole to prevent these sales from going forward as long as Turkey continues to violate Greece’s sovereignty, undermine NATO, and delay Sweden’s accession.”