WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to convey strong disagreement with the Trump administration’s announced opposition to a section of the FY2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill that restricts the use of funding for the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey.
In the letter, AHI President Nick Larigakis disagrees strongly with the Administration’s contention that Turkey is an important NATO ally. Larigakis cites Turkish threats directed at the United States military and Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles. Regarding the latter, Larigakis points to a quote from NATO’s Allied Air Commander that expresses the S-400s are not to the advantage of the coalition. Larigakis also references the strong possibility the S-400 purchase will trigger U.S. sanctions under the recently enacted Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and Turkey’s unjust imprisonment of U.S. citizens.
In addition, Larigakis states Turkey is the force that creates instability in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s countless violations of Greece’s sovereignty in the Aegean, and Turkish aggression toward the surveying vessel of a multinational oil company (Eni) in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, were cited as recent examples.
“We believe it is time for the United States to send a strong message to Turkey that its actions and behavior run contrary to the ideals and principles of the United States and NATO and pose a threat to United States security and interests,” Larigakis wrote. “We strongly contend that message is to halt the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey.”