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US Senator Menendez: Turkey doesn’t deserve to get F-16 jets

Bob Menendez, US Senator and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sharply criticized Turkey on its stance towards NATO enlargement, its relations with Greece and Cyprus, and its human rights record, saying it does not “deserve” to acquire new fighter jets from the United States.

The comment was made during a hearing where US Secretary of State Antony Blinken briefed senators about a budget increase sought by the State Department to tackle “Russia’s autocracy and aggression” and “the long-term challenge” from China.

Noting that Ankara “violates another country’s airspace and territorial waters without provocation, buys Russian military equipment in violation of US law, has more lawyers and journalists in jail than almost any other country and jails it main political opponent right before elections, seeks by force to block the rights of an EU country to explore its energy deposits off its outer continental shelf,” he asked Blinken, “How would you characterize such a country?”

“I guess I’d call it a challenging ally,” Blinken replied.

“I call the country Turkey and…I don’t believe that such a country… deserves to have F-16s sold to it. I don’t know what messages we are sending to the world,” Menendez added. [katjimerini]

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