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The Senate has overwhelmingly voted 13-79 against a resolution to block a $23 billion F-16 sale to Turkey, approved by the Biden administration. The deal, eagerly sought by Turkey for years, includes 40 new F-16s by Lockheed Martin and modernization kits for 79 jets in its current fleet. Its US approval followed Turkey’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership.

Senator Rand Paul led the opposition to the sale, citing Turkey’s human rights concerns and its military actions. “I also remain deeply concerned about the negative strategic implications of this proposed sale, given Turkey’s reckless military actions in recent years,” Paul expressed, referencing a US F-16’s downing of a Turkish drone in Syria and Turkey’s F-16 deployment to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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In defense of the sale, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Ben Cardin stated, “I consulted closely with the highest levels of the Biden administration about this transaction over several months. I believe they share my concerns, and I believe we are making progress.” Cardin emphasized the strategic necessity of the sale in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the importance of Turkey’s role within NATO, noting, “Turkey is key to the defense of the southern flank of NATO. It is host to a major U.S. military presence, and Turkey’s F-16 fleet contributes to NATO, including in the Black Sea, which is critical to our national security.”

This closely follows another significant military sale for a nearby neighbor of Turkey, Greece. That deal, valued at $8.6 billion, will provide F-35 stealth fighter jets to Greece.


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