US Leaders Urged to Halt Warplane Sale to 'Authoritarian' Turkey

A F-35 Lightning II in action (file photo).

A letter signed by dozens of U.S. lawmakers is urging the country’s leadership to shelve plans to supply Turkey with state-of-the-art warplanes.

The petition signed by 44 members of Congress says Turkey’s “authoritarian turn and hostility to U.S. interests” should rule out the sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is being urged to prevent the sale, particularly as Ankara insists it will install the Russian-made S-400 missile system, something opposed by its NATO allies.

Among the signatories are Greek-American legislators Gus Bilirakis (Republican) and John Sarbanes (Democrat).

The petition goes on to state: “Turkey is also actively undermining U.S. interests in the region by targeting civilians and Kurdish fighters in Syria, and has continued its hostility to our allies like Israel and Greece while further aligning itself with Russia and Iran.

“Furthermore, Turkey has abandoned all pretense of democracy and since the failed July, 2016 coup has arrested and sentenced in sham trials hundreds of thousands of perceived enemies of the regime, including U.S. citizens. Turkey’s contempt for basic human
rights at home and abroad is further reason to stop the sale of F-35s.”