Turkey’s opponents in Congress seeking to block F-35 deal – newspaper

A growing number of members of the U.S. Congress are speaking out against the sale of 100 fighter jets to Turkey, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said.

One example, it said, was Congressman David Cicilline, who “called for the deal to be scrapped in July last year in response to an incident when bodyguards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assaulted protesters during his official visit to Washington. The incident led to the blocking of the sale of semi-automatic weapons to Erdogan’s private guard.”

“The most active proponents against the deal are reportedly congressmen of Greek and Armenian heritage,” the newspaper added.

U.S. Air Force Deputy Undersecretary Heidi Grant had also expressed concern over the deal, Kathimerini said.

“It’s a significant concern, not only to the United States, because we need to protect this high-end technology, fifth-generation technology, but for all of our partners and allies that have already purchased the F-35,” it quoted her as saying in November.

The first F-35s are due to be delivered this year, while the remainder will be delivered by 2022, the newspaper said.