CHICAGO — The United States Congress initiated two new efforts to restrict the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, an unreliable ally who has threatened American interests and US allies in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the Senate on Thursday, March 28, Senators Chis Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), James Lankford (R-OK), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced a bill to limit the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey until the President provides a written certification to Congress that the government of Turkey does not plan or intend to accept delivery of Russian S-400 air defense missiles.

The bill states that if Ankara moves forward with the purchase of S-400s, it would endanger the integrity of the NATO alliance, of ongoing operations of US Armed Forces, and would “increase the risk of compromising United States defense systems and operational capabilities.” Additionally, the Senators urge the President to impose sanctions under the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 on anyone involved in the transaction in Turkey.

Read the bill here.

On the House side, Congressmen John Sarbanes and Gus Bilirakis led a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee urging that language concerning the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey be included in the fiscal year 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill. The letter, signed by 31 representatives, details the dangers of Turkey acquiring both the S-400 and F-35, and urges that no funds be appropriated or made available to facilitate the transfer or delivery of F-35s to Turkey until the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that Turkey is no longer purchasing or accepting deliveries of S-400 missiles from Russia.

Blocking the delivery of F-35s to Turkey is a policy priority long advanced by the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC). Last year, HALC launched the #NoJetsForTurkey in partnership with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). The campaign successfully advocated for F35 restrictions to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act and the latest Appropriations legislation.

HALC and ANCA continue to work with Congress on today’s measures and forthcoming initiatives. The latest in American weaponry cannot be transferred to states that endanger American interests, American national security, and American allies.