Per Fox News insiders, legislators on Capitol Hill are becoming increasingly worried that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is “leading a double game” as he seeks to shore up domestic gains in return for European security.
Turkey Making Things Difficult
After Erdogan made moves to impede NATO’s enlargement, at a moment when Europe is confronting its worst security danger since World War II, some in Parliament have been increasingly unwilling to engage in negotiations with Ankara.
Biden, earlier in the month, encouraged Congress to accept a $400 million arms contract that would provide weapons, radar, and electronics to Turkey’s faltering F-16 force, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A second plan is scheduled to be presented later this year, which would replace Ankara’s air fleets by delivering additional F-16s.
The measure, which looked to have bipartisan backing at first, would assist and strengthen Turkey’s air defense systems.
Lawmakers wary that Turkey is 'playing double game' in NATO, arms negotiations https://t.co/u06JG7rwkm
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 1, 2022
It would also help to restore Washington’s relations with the NATO partner.
This deteriorated in 2019 when the US stopped the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in exchange for an agreement Ankara struck to buy Russian-built S-400 missile defenses.
However, less than two weeks after learning of Biden’s plan, Erdogan said Turkey will block Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids, due to charges that the two countries sheltered people Turkey considers to be “terrorists.”
Turkey is “playing” the Biden government, according to a senior congressional aide familiar with the idea making its way through Congress.
Turkey criticized Russia’s incursion on Ukraine, demanded its expulsion from the United Nations Human Rights Council, and offered to broker peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Erdogan, on the other hand, refused to censure Russia; some observers see his NATO embargo as a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While some lawmakers are concerned about NATO’s security, particularly as Russia’s conflict enters its third month, others on Capitol Hill are not sure strengthening the defense pact is the best solution.
Talking with Turkey on enabling Sweden, as well as Finland to join NATO, according to a source familiar with the issue, is “short-term reasoning.”
— tim anderson (@timand2037) May 30, 2022
It’s Splitting up
“Across the board, there are pools of doubt,” the person noted.
According to a spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Bob Menendez, the top Democrat has “grave reservations with Turkey’s anti-democratic path under Erdogan.”
A senior federal official also mentioned the $40 billion aid package voted by Congress in favor of Ukraine, saying although there is widespread opposition to Putin’s incursion, there is also some GOP “skepticism” about the enormous emergency spending measure.
“You have to consider the risks of NATO expansion,” the worker explained.
“After the euphoria of the moment wears off and we consider what the United States’ attitude toward Ukraine has been since 2014, we must analyze these factors in a rational manner.”
The White House did not reply to queries from Fox News about whether Biden backed a weapons agreement with Turkey or whether the government would talk with Erdogan to convince him to extend NATO.