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AHI Opposes U.S. F-16 Sale to Turkey; Highlights Importance of F-35 Sale to Greece


The American Hellenic Institute has issued the following statement on behalf of AHI President Nick Larigakis in response to the recent U.S. sale of arms to Turkey and Greece:

We reiterate our strong opposition to the United States selling new F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits to Turkey, an unreliable ally that is in violation of U.S. and international laws and which remains sanctioned by the U.S. for their use of Russian-made weapon systems. Furthermore, this July will mark a half-century of Turkey’s illegal occupation of the Republic of Cyprus, an EU country and a strategic partner to the U.S.

We are deeply troubled that Turkey continues to stand in opposition to U.S. policy interests in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, and on important matters pertaining to Israel, Iran, Syria, and Russia. It is unacceptable that the Biden Administration chose to notify Congress of its plan to sell Turkey arms almost directly after Turkey approved Sweden’s NATO accession. It is also disappointing that the leaders of the respective committees provided their approval with such haste given the substantial opposition to the deal from many other members of Congress. Turkey should have approved Sweden’s NATO accession because it was the right and necessary thing to do in order to bolster the alliance and support its allies, but instead it used the opportunity to seek concessions from the United States and delay the process far beyond the appropriate timeline.

Turkey has consistently violated the Arms Export Control Act by their use of U.S. weapons for illegitimate purposes unrelated to their self-defense. The use of a double standard in the application of the rule of law regarding Turkey jeopardizes the goal of the U.S. to promote international rules- based order, human rights, and democratic values in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and across the world. It is not in the best interests of the United States to continue to not hold Turkey responsible for their actions. 

While we applaud that Greece has finally received an indication that a deal has been completed to sell a reported forty F-35 fighter jets, and additional defense equipment that includes 60 tanks, two military transport planes, and warships, we are disappointed at the fact that it has taken this long, given that Congress had already approved this deal many months ago.

Greece is worthy of such a deal based on its own merit. However, it appears to observers of U.S. policy in the region that any proposed deal to sell F-35s to Greece remained contingent on Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s NATO accession and subsequent proposed sale of F-16s to Turkey. U.S. policy toward Greece should never be viewed through the prism of Turkey, or any third-party country. Unlike Turkey, Greece is a longtime proven and dependable U.S. and NATO ally. It has fought side-by-side with the U.S. during every major conflict of the 20th century. Today, Greece is hailed as an “indispensable partner and NATO Ally at a time of unparalleled global challenges” as stated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the “defense relationship between the United States and Greece has never been stronger” as expressed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Many top U.S. government officials have echoed similar sentiments.