Biden administration seeks Congress approval for small weapons deal to Turkey -sources

Turkey and U.S. flags are viewed in this picture illustration taken August 25, 2018. Picture taken August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photograph

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WASHINGTON, Could 11 (Reuters) – The Biden administration has informally arrived at out to the U.S. Congress to request acceptance for a proposed sale of missiles and equipment updates to NATO ally Turkey, sources common with the subject reported on Wednesday.

The weapons deal was an current request by Ankara, and features Aim-120 medium-variety air-to-air and sidewinder missiles, as properly as components and program updates for F-16 fighter jets, sources mentioned.

The notification to Congress is element of an informal method that provides lawmakers the chance to dilemma or quash likely weapons gross sales quietly to keep away from chafing U.S. allies publicly.

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The news on the package was 1st claimed by the Wall Avenue Journal.

The package, which 1 resource reported would be really worth close to $300 million, is independent from the multi-billion-greenback improve deal that Turkey asked for from the United States previous October, inquiring to invest in 40 Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) F-16 jets and just about 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.

The Point out Division, when asked about the offer, explained it does not “publicly comment on or confirm proposed protection transfers until eventually they have been formally notified to Congress.”

“The United States and Turkey have longstanding and deep bilateral protection ties, and Turkey’s continued NATO interoperability remains a priority,” a Condition Department spokesperson included.

Congress’ reaction to the scaled-down deal may deliver perception on how it will react to the more substantial F-16 sale, which is important for Ankara’s air drive.

Several U.S. lawmakers had soured on Ankara immediately after its 2019 acquisition of Russian-built protection missile devices, triggering U.S. sanctions as perfectly as Turkey’s elimination from the F-35 fighter jet method.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s significantly authoritarian grip on power and eroding freedoms for journalists, advocates and rights defenders have also prompted quite a few in Washington to argue from a weapons sale to Turkey.

On the other hand, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may perhaps have furnished an opening, quite a few analysts say.

Ankara has criticized the invasion and bought drones to Kyiv despite Russian objections. But it has also opposed Western sanctions against Moscow and taken care of a thorough rhetoric by refraining from accusing both state about the conflict, even amid studies of war crimes in components of Ukraine.

The Biden administration has refrained from publicly expressing any opinion on the proposed F-16 sale, but a letter from the State Office in March to a team of lawmakers argued in favor of “suitable defense trade ties” with Turkey, without having openly supporting it. examine much more

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Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Mike Stone
Further reporting by Patricia Zengerle
Enhancing by Leslie Adler

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