US senators have warned the Turkish government that if it wants upgrades for its F-16 jet fighters, Ankara must agree with the NATO bids of Finland and Sweden.
A bipartisan group of senators said on Thursday that US President Joe Biden should tell Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the US Congress is unlikely to approve fighter jet upgrades for Turkey if Ankara disagrees with Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO.
Erdogan has said that he has a positive view of Finland’s request to join NATO, but he will not support Sweden’s proposal due to its disrespect to the Muslim holy book, the Quran.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, led 25 of their colleagues in a letter to the president, saying, “Congress cannot consider future support for Turkey, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets until Turkey completes ratification of the accession protocols.” The senators added, “Failure to ratify the protocols or present a timeline for ratification threatens the Alliance’s unity at a key moment in history, as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”
Of NATO’s 30 members, only Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession.
Sweden canceled its talks with Turkey on Stockholm’s bid for membership in NATO amid an escalation of tensions between the two countries.
Far-right activists burned copies of the holy Muslim book in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands last week.