October x, 2021
The Honorable Joe Biden The Honorable Antony Blinken
The White House Department of State
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW 2201 C St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20502 Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear President Biden and Secretary Blinken:
We write with a profound sense of concern in light of recent reports indicating that Turkey may soon purchase 40 new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and 80 F-16 modernization kits from the United States government. Following President Erdogan’s September announcement that Turkey will purchase an additional tranche of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, we cannot afford to compromise our national security by sending U.S.-manufactured aircraft to a treaty ally which continues to behave like an adversary.
As you know, the Trump Administration officially removed Turkey from its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program after President Erdogan executed Turkey’s first purchase of Russian S-400 systems, a decision which prevented Turkey from compromising the F-35 system. With the backing of a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress, this commonsense policy has continued under your Administration.
As Turkey reportedly paid $1.4 billion to join the U.S.-led JSF program, President Erdogan now seeks compensation in the form of cash, the planned F-35 shipment, new F-16 fighter jets, and modernization kits for its existing F-16 fleet. While we are confident that Congress will stand together to block any such exports should these plans progress, the United States cannot afford to transfer any advanced military equipment to the government of Turkey at this time.
As long as President Erdogan advances his expansionist project in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey will continue to threaten our national security and the security of our closest allies in the region—Greece, Israel and Cyprus. We urge you to act in our national interest and for the sake of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean by refusing to reinforce Turkey’s aging arsenal of fighter jets, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Member of Congress