25 US Senators Give Turkey an Ultimatum

Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures at a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Yildiz Palace in Istanbul on Jan. 23, 2016.

On Thursday 25 US senators told the White House that they would not approve an arms sale to Turkey unless Ankara stops blocking NATO ascension for Sweden and Finland. The announcement was made through a letter signed by the 25 senators. The arms sale they were referring to is a deal for 40 new F-16 jet fighters and 79 modernization kits. The letter stated, “Congress cannot consider future support for Turkey, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets, until Turkey completes ratification of the accession protocols.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliament in Ankara on Wednesday that “there would be a price” to pay if the US backs out of the arms deal. Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told CNN International, “We have been developing our own national capabilities. Our drones have really shown to the world how capable they are in [the] worst moments, in our defense. So we will simply develop our own national capabilities and the US defense companies will be on the losing end in all of this.“ He went on to say, “If the American Congress makes the NATO accession process a precondition for the F-16 program, they can wait for a long time, we are not tying the two together.”