US removes conditions of F-16 sale to Turkey
Amendments introduced in the US House of Representatives making sales of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey contingent on a series of conditions were removed in the final defense spending bill.
A conference committee made up of House and Senate members finalized the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill, which includes the 2023 defense budget.
Amendments were dropped from the bill
According to the final version of the draft text, which will be voted on by both chambers of Congress, the amendments submitted by a group of representatives were dropped from the bill.
The move came after two amendments introduced by Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Chris Van Hollen tying F-16 sales to Turkey on some conditions were removed from the Senate version of the annual US defense spending bill.
Attemp to impose restrictions on the F-16 sale
The amendments sought to impose several restrictions on the sale of F-16s and modernization kits to Turkey, including not to use the fighter jets to violate Greece’s airspace and requiring the Biden administration to certify that the sale would be in national interests.
The diplomatic efforts of Turkey in Washington were said to be effective in this change in the Senate.
In order for the sale of F-16s to be made, Congress should not object to the sales notification submitted by the administration.
After the Senate passes the NDAA, it will be made into a joint text with a previous version passed within the House of Representatives before it is sent to President Joe Biden's desk to be signed into law.
Turkey hails the move
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Moldovan counterpart Nicu Popescu in Istanbul, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said: "In the end, the absence of a negative element (in the bill) is a positive development. We welcome this."