Three United States senators, James Lankford, Jeanne Shaheen, and Thom Tillis, have introduced a bill that would halt an future transfers of U.S. produced fighter jets to Turkey. The bill was established because of the concern over Turkey acquiring high end military equipment, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, while continuing to act recklessly as a nation. Presently, the Turkish military is engaged in Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria and has sent barrages of artillery and airstrikes into civilian populated areas in an effort to progress the Turkish vendetta against the Kurds.
In a public statement, Senator James Lankford said, “I applaud our State Department for their ceaseless work to improve the US-Turkey relationship, but President Erdogan has continued down a path of reckless governance and disregard for the rule of law. Individual freedoms have been increasingly diminished as Erdogan consolidates power for himself, and Turkey’s strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, US interests. These factors make the transfer of sensitive F-35 technology and cutting-edge capabilities to Erdogan’s regime increasingly risky.”
It has been surmised that the Turkish military will be buying nearly 100 military aircraft through a United States lead multinational purchase program. The bill was handed over to the foreign relations committee of the Senate. Senator Shaheen said, “Erdogan’s choice to take hostages and imprison innocent Americans, to try to gain leverage over the United States, is egregious and unlawful,” expressing her frustration with the NATO ally. Her reference was to Christian pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was detained by the Turkish government in 2016. Shaheen and Lankford have both demanded sanctions be placed on Turkey for Brunson’s imprisonment.
In Brussels this week, foreign ministers with NATO are expected to meet and discuss the situation in Syria; Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will be in attendance. Amnesty International produced a harsh report this week on Turkey’s abuses and human rights violations as it continues in a post coup state of national emergency. However, Turkey has denied the reports and claimed it is combating terrorism in Syria in the form of the PKK and YPJ, groups it claims were tied to the attempted coup last year.
Featured Image Courtesy of Jim Mattis (170215-D-GO396-1083) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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