Hellenic American Leadership Congress (HALC) and the Armenian National Committee of America renew their campaign to permanently block delivery
WASHINGTON, DC —(GreekNewsOnline)
On Thursday, United States Congress passed a far-ranging spending bill that includes two provisions regarding Turkey that are backed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC).
The first provision blocks the sale of weapons to Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s security detail unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reports to Congress that members of that detail, charged with beating U.S. protesters in May of 2017 in Washington, DC, are brought to justice.
The second prohibits the delivery of U.S. F-35s to Turkey until the Defense Department submits a report to Congress regarding the national security consequences of Ankara acquiring Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.
“We welcome the Congress’ continuing vigilance with regards to the regional implications of arms sales to Turkey,” said Hellenic American Leadership Council Executive Director Endy Zemenides and ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The reporting requirements in this legislation represent meaningful progress in holding Turkey accountable for its increasingly reckless conduct in the region and brazenly violent actions here on our own shores.”
Hamparian and Zemenides continued, “Unfortunately, even the reasonable and relatively mild restriction on F-35 sales – premised on giving Turkey a chance to improve its behavior as an ally – is already proving to be too optimistic, as Turkey – as recently as today – reaffirmed its intention to take delivery of the Russian S-400 missile system over strong American objections.”
The bill, which passed both the Senate and House overwhelmingly, is headed to the White House for signature. President Trump has confirmed that he will be signing the measure.
Turkey has a contract pending for delivery of U.S. made F-35 fighter jets. When it was revealed that Turkey was also seeking to buy Russia’s S-400 air defense system, governments and security experts sounded the alarm. U.S. and NATO officials warned Turkey that integrating that advanced anti-aircraft missile system with F-35 technology would be incredibly dangerous, “compromising the jet’s security, as any data collected by the air defense system and obtained by Russia could help expose the joint strike fighter’s vulnerabilities.” Members of Congress warned that Turkey could have either the F-35s or the S-400 system, but not both.
Last week, Turkey reiterated its decision to proceed with its purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems. Turkey’s decision to proceed with that purchase directly endangers Greece, the U.S. and other members of NATO. We urgently need to underscore for the administration that it must do all it can to block the delviery of F-35s so long as Turkey continues to stand by its reckless and unacceptable choice.
(1) TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PROTECTION DI RECTORATE .
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to facilitate or support the sale of defense articles or defense services to the Turkish Presidential Protection Directorate (TPPD) under 13 chapter 2 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 14 U.S.C. 2761 et seq.), unless the Secretary of State 15 determines and reports to the appropriate congres16 sional committees that members of the TPPD that are named in the July 17, 2017 indictment by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and against whom charges are pending, have returned to the United States to stand trial in connection with the offenses contained in such indictment or have otherwise been brought to justice: Provided, That the limitation in this paragraph shall not apply to the use of funds made available by this Act for border security purposes, for North Atlantic Treaty Organization or coalition operations, or to enhance the protection of United States officials and facilities in Turkey.
(2) RESTRICTION ON FUNDS.-
(A) Not later than November 1, 2019, but no sooner than six months after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit an update to the report required by section 1282 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law 115-232) regarding the purchase by the Republic of Turkey of the S-400 missile defense system from the Russian Federation: Provided, That such report shall also include a detailed description of plans for the imposition of sanctions, if appropriate, for such purchase pursuant to section 231 of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-44).
(B) None of the funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs may be made available to deliver F-35 aircraft to the territory of the Republic of Turkey until the report in subparagraph (A) is submitted to the Congress.
A NEW CAMPAIGN
The Hellenic American Leadership Congress (HALC) and the Armenian National Committee of America renew their campaign to permanently block delivery of F-35s to Turkey, asking people to sign a letter they are sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, asking them to prevent the transfer of the advanced fighter jets to such an unreliable ally.
You may sign the petition by visiting the following link:
The letter is as follows:
Dear Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan,
We are writing to urge you to block the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey. As American citizens, we are concerned that at this point, such a transfer would undermine the national security of the United States and its allies in Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.
Despite a risky investment in the relationship with Turkey by successive administrations, the bet on Turkey has gone horribly wrong for the United States. The bill of indictment against Turkey is long. In the past few years alone, the Erdogan government has: threatened to attack U.S. troops in Syria; insulted the U.S. Ambassador in Turkey and arrested U.S. diplomatic staff; bombed the US’s most reliable ally in the fight against the Islamic State — the Kurds; and assaulted peaceful American protesters on US soil.
Turkey’s continues its daily violations of Greek airspace, its blockades of Armenia and Cyprus, its 45 year old illegal occupation of Cyprus and threats against both Cyprus and American companies like Exxon and Noble that are operating there. There is a real danger in providing Turkey’s authoritarian president with advanced weapons that he may turn against our allies — including Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Armenia — and, possibly even U.S. forces.
Finally, as American citizens and taxpayers, we are outraged at Turkey’s insistence, reiterated this month, on possessing both the Russian S-400 missile system and American F-35s. This raises the prospect that Turkey may leak highly classified F-35 technology to our adversaries, including Iran and Russia. This will compromise our security and result in a waste of a significant investment by American taxpayers.
We urge you to immediately and publicly make clear that Turkey will not receive a single F-35 jet if it receives Russian S-400s.