US Sen. Menendez says he is talking with Biden administration on F-16 sales to Turkey

US Senator Bob Menendez

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez on Monday said there was a temporary "lull" in Turkey's "aggression against its neighbors" and said he is in conversations with the Biden administration about the hold he has placed on future US sales of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.

Menendez, a Democrat, said in a brief hallway interview that while he still has concerns about Turkey, he could make a decision within the next week about the status of that hold.

Greece seeks guarantees that the F-16 jets will not be used against Athens as part of an ongoing maritime waters dispute in the Aegean Sea, with daily overflights above islands questioning Greek sovereignty.

Six US lawmakers sent a letter to the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, asking for a monitoring mechanism to ensure Turkey does not use the new F-16 fighters to violate Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.

They noted that if an agreement to sell F-16s and modernisation kits to Turkey was being considered, “we strongly urge that any final agreement include mechanisms to stop, delay or withdraw the transfer of such weapons if Turkey engages in actions that threaten or undermine US national security interests and the unity of the NATO alliance”.

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