The US government has expressed its opposition to legislative initiatives by Congress to restrict the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in a letter signed by the director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney.
“Turkey is an important NATO ally and has been an international participant with the F-35 program since 2002,” Mulvaney wrote in the July 9 letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby.
“The administration shares the Congress’s concerns over recent Turkish actions but opposes language that preemptively restricts its ability to work with Turkey to address those concerns,” he added.
The Senate committee has said that the transfer of the F-35s should not occur “until the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the government of Turkey is not purchasing the S-400 missile defense system from Russia and will not accept the delivery of such a system.”
US Senator Chris Van Hollen last month announced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2019 State, Foreign Operations Act calling a halt to the pending delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.
The move by the White House prompted the response of Greek-American, Greek-Armenian and Christian organizations which said it would appear to Ankara as a sign of weakness and undermine a strong bargaining chip for Washington, pressing Congress to impose the restrictions.