The Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) have launched a national advocacy campaign encouraging U.S. Senators to block a planned sale of U.S. F-35 stealth fighters to Turkey’s increasingly erratic and anti-American Erdogan regime.
This joint Hellenic-Armenian American initiative – the most recent in a series of ANCA-HALC advocacy campaigns – warns Senators against the dangers of providing Erdogan with advanced weapons that he may turn against our allies – including Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Armenia – and, possibly even U.S. forces. The campaign also raises alarms regarding the likelihood that Turkey may leak highly classified F-35 technology to adversaries, including Iran and Russia.
Last year, House Foreign Affairs Committee member David Cicilline (D-RI) proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill to block the F-35 sale following Turkish President Recep Erdogan-ordered attacks against peaceful protesters in Washington, DC. While the House Rules Committee did not allow full House consideration of Rep. Cicilline’s proposal, a second amendment, advanced by Rep. David Trott (R-MI) blocking the sale of semi-automatic guns to Turkey was adopted.
F-35s are fifth-generation, multirole, stealth combat aircraft designed to perform a broad array of ground attack and air superiority missions. Ankara placed its first orders for these jets in 2014, seeking, between 2018 and 2022, to take delivery of as many as 120 fighters. Turkey – along with the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy, and Australia – is part of a joint development program to produce these aircraft, helping offset U.S. costs while providing them with access to highly proprietary U.S. aerospace technology. According to the Congressional Research Service, Turkey seeks to replace its existing F-16 fleet with newly purchased F-35s.