Turkey’s ongoing effort to purchase F-16 modernization kits has as much to do with the $20 billion transfer of military hardware as it does with its hopes of blackmailing the US and the NATO alliance. The Order of AHEPA sees Turkey’s misguided pursuits as a high-stakes maneuver that will test whether the West has the willingness to uphold its laws and principles in the long-term interest of its international reputation and strategic defense.
Turkey is attempting to coerce the United States into an entirely unacceptable position of either abandoning its long-held support of international cooperation or being held at the mercy of Turkey’s veto power, which would prevent the inclusion of Sweden and Finland into NATO. This attempt to usurp international laws and prevent the logical inclusion of the Scandinavian countries only exposes the Erdogan administration for what they are – an authoritarian theocratic government that has no interest in accepting the rules-based order of the democratic world. He uses his nation’s geographic location as a bargaining chip and repeatedly dangles the false hope that he will somehow be an honest broker in a volatile region. And somehow, he gets a pass; even though he is the largest impediment to progress and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Time and time again, Turkey has shown its unwillingness to accept established laws and Western principles. In just the past few years, Turkey has: 1) rejected the 100-year-old Treaty of Lausanne; 2) purchased Russian S-400 missile systems, which subjects Turkey to sanctions by the United States under CAATSA and disqualifies them immediately from the F-16 upgrade; 3) supported an oil for gold scheme, which hampered anti-terrorist efforts; 4) further supported terrorist organizations by hosting Hamas and others; 5) initiated daily military overflights of sovereign Greek airspace, numbering in the tens of thousands last year alone; 6) threatened that an invasion of Greece could come ‘suddenly one night’; 7) suggested that the occupied portion of Cyprus be annexed by Turkey; and 8) bizarrely claimed a Blue Homeland, which seems to ignore the physical existence of Crete (Europe’s 5th largest island).
Turkey shows a complete inability to uphold the international laws and practices of those whom it calls allies. And at the same time, Turkey claims indignation when the US and NATO hold it accountable for these gross violations and countless domestic abuses that are too numerous to mention here.
The F-16 is more than a plane. It is Turkey’s attempt to impose its will on the US and our strategic allies in the region. Fortunately, Senator Bob Menendez and other seasoned policymakers have America’s long-term interests in mind and realize that US foreign policy cannot be held at the mercy of such bellicose rhetoric for the sake of expediency. If the US capitulates and authorizes the sale of F-16s to Turkey in the hopes that the Turkish government will not veto Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO or that somehow it will only use the weapons for peaceful defensive purposes, the West will have lost more than just their principles. They will have encouraged similar confrontational behaviors, promoted more hostility towards Greece, Syria, and Armenia, and weakened the Western alliance. AHEPA promotes the democratic interests of the free world by informing and educating its tens of thousands of active members around the world. As a powerful voice in the US Capitol, AHEPA remains a trusted resource for policy decision-makers and plays a crucial role in promoting Western values and interests throughout the world.
Dr. Zenon Christodoulou
Chairman on behalf of the AHEPA Cyprus Hellenic Affairs Committee