Three U.S. senators introduced a measure on Thursday aimed at blocking the transfer of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Turkey, a NATO ally and one of nine partner nations involved in producing the high-tech, radar-evading aircraft.
The bill, by Republicans James Lankford and Thom Tillis, and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, comes at a time of deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey, which supported the fight against Islamic State but has become increasingly worried about U.S. backing for Kurdish fighters in north Syria.
The three senators, in introducing the bill, issued a statement expressing concern that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had embarked on a “path of reckless governance and disregard for the rule of law.”
“Turkey’s strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, U.S. interests. These factors make the transfer of sensitive F-35 technology and cutting-edge capabilities to Erdogan’s regime increasingly risky,” Lankford said in the statement.
The Turkish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Erdogan declared a state of emergency in Turkey following an attempted coup in July 2016. Since then, he has detained tens of thousands of people, cracked down on dissent and carried out purges in the military and bureaucracy. He charges that followers of a U.S.-based cleric were behind the coup attempt.
Erdogan has been a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State but sent troops into the Kurdish-dominated Afrin region of northwestern Syria earlier this year and threatened to quash U.S. plans for a local security force in northern Syria.
The three senators voiced concern about Turkey’s detention of an American evangelical preacher, Andrew Brunson, a long-time resident of Turkey who was jailed during Erdogan’s crackdown.
“President Erdogan’s choice to take hostages and imprison innocent Americans, to try to gain leverage over the United States, is egregious and unlawful,” Shaheen said in the statement.
Turkey plans to buy more than 100 of the F-35 aircraft. Turkish companies have been involved in producing parts for the fighter, and Ankara is scheduled to begin receiving its first aircraft within a year.
The bill would restrict the transfer of F-35s to Turkey and limit Ankara from receiving intellectual property or technical data needed to maintain and support the fighters.
It would allow the U.S. president to waive the restrictions by certifying Turkey is not taking steps that would undermine NATO security and not wrongfully detaining U.S. citizens.
Trump blames Ocasio-Cortez for two Democrats who were nearly barred from Israel
President Donald Trump tweeted out Sunday that Democrats are ready to wage war against Israel because the prime minister followed his direction to ban Congresswomen from coming to the country.
Israel backed off after an uprising from both conservative and liberal groups, saying the purpose of any international visit should be to help educate, regardless of the support for the country.
"House Democrats want to take action against Israel because it is fighting back against two (maybe four) people that have said unthinkably bad things about it & the Israeli people. Dems have such disdain for Israel! What happened? AOC Plus 4 is the new face of the Democrat Party!" Trump announced.
‘Part of me wanted to leave’: Lone attendee of Steve King town hall turns out to be a ‘hungover’ Democrat
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is being told to resign by members of his own party who are tired of his overt racism. While many Republicans might exhibit racist tendencies and make apologies for the president's racism, King says things out loud the GOP would just assume he keep quiet on. The true test, however, comes from King's own district and whether or not they're willing to reelect him in November.
The key revelation came at a recent townhall King held, where the only person who attended was a hungover Democrat. The Iowa Starting Line reported the pathetic event, where it seemed more members of the press were willing to show up than actual constituents.
‘I’m the one who calls the shots’: Trump rails against Fox News for giving him ‘his worst polls’
President Donald Trump explained why Fox News has drawn his ire and that they need to realize he's the one in control of them.
In a conversation on the tarmac in Morristown, New Jersey on his way back to Washington, Trump said that Fox News has not been good to him lately.
"Fox is a lot different than it used to be, I can tell you that," Trump said.
In an earlier Twitter rant, the president went off on Juan Williams for being "nasty and wrong."