Senators Say Congress Should Hold Off on F-16 Sales to Turkey Until NATO Protocols Are Ratified

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Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., wrote a letter to President Joe Biden Thursday saying Congress should not consider the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Turkey until the country ratifies the accession protocols for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

“Failure to ratify the protocols or present a timeline for ratification threatens the Alliance’s unity at a key moment in history, as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Shaheen and Tillis wrote in the letter.

According to the letter, Turkey signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Sweden and Finland in June 2022 detailing agreements on initiatives the two Nordic countries should carry out to address Turkey’s security concerns as a precondition to join the transatlantic alliance.

Despite the efforts of Finland and Sweden to meet the conditions, Turkey has not approved the NATO accession protocols for the two countries and has not committed to a timeline for consideration of the ratification, the senators noted.

We urge you to continue to engage with the U.S. Ambassador to Turkiye, the U.S. Mission to NATO and with our allies, including Sweden and Finland, to encourage Turkiye to act swiftly in support of transatlantic unity and ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession protocols to the NATO Alliance,” the lawmakers wrote.

Shaheen and Tillis are co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group.

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