The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) opposes the sale of 40 F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, emphasizing that it was that very same aircraft used against the Armenian people during last Fall's 44-day Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) War, launched by Azerbaijan with the full backing of Turkey. Satellite images confirm F-16 fighters were secretly deployed to Azerbaijan prior to the war, which also saw heavy usage of Turkish strike drones against the Armenian people in Artsakh, the Assembly informed Armenian News-NEWS.am.
According to numerous media outlets, the billion-dollar deal is in the Foreign Military Sales process, and will need to be approved by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress, both of which have the authority to block the sale.
"Congress and the American people know that the Erdogan regime in Turkey has become not only an unreliable ally, but a treacherous danger to U.S. interests and human rights in the region and globally," said Assembly Co-Chairs Van Krikorian and Anthony Barsamian. "Using F-16s to advance genocidal attacks against Christian Armenians in partnership with the autocratic Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan is not something the U.S. should advance."
This latest move by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comes after Turkey was prevented from purchasing over 100 F-35 advanced stealth fighter jets in response to Ankara's acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, prompting U.S. sanctions. While the U.S. has warned Erdogan to halt buying additional Russian arms, he has publicly indicated that he will purchase another round of S-400s.
During a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Erdogan described Turkish military cooperation with Russia as being "of utmost importance." Further, while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly last month, Erdogan told CBS News' Margaret Brennan in an interview that he will continue to acquire Russian defense systems and "nobody can get involved in this." He added, "In the future, nobody will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from which country at what level. Nobody can interfere with that. We are the only ones to make such decisions."