Republicans say Menendez’s ouster has improved the chances of an F-16 sale to Turkey.

“I’ve been reading the tea leaves, and he was one of the four that were still on hold, so I think it’s more likely to pass – but Sweden would have to join NATO,” he said. McCall (R-Texas) said in a brief interview. “We’re saying if you’re going to play hardball against Sweden, we’re not going to consider it.”

Turkey is seeking 40 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin, and White House officials said in July that they plan to move forward with a transfer to a NATO ally, including Sweden’s NATO membership on Ankara’s behalf. A day after the promise of approval. The administration has said that the two issues are not related.

But congressional gatekeepers have said Turkey must also mend its relationship with Greece before allowing the sale.

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week, McCaul said he expected a clear path forward on the issue: I don’t see.”

Menendez, facing federal charges that he illegally took cash and gold to help the Egyptian government and New Jersey business associates, resigned as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday as he An indictment has been filed.

Erdogan said in remarks published Tuesday that after Menendez’s departure, he would “speed up the process regarding the F-16s” through further talks between Secretary of State Antony Blanken and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. “Opportunity”.

“One of our most important issues regarding the F-16s was the activities of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez against our country,” Erdogan told reporters on his flight back from Azerbaijan.

“Menendez’s exit benefits us, but the F-16 issue is not one that depends only on Menendez,” Erdogan added.

McCaul, Menendez, Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Jim Rush (R-Idaho), and House Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Gregory Max (DN.Y.) have all opposed the sale of jets to Ankara for overlapping reasons. Menendez has been most vocal about his demands that Turkey reduce tensions with its neighbors.

This week, Max still wasn’t ready to budge. He first expects the Turkish parliament to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership, so that Turkey can continue to ease tensions with its neighbors and work with NATO to counter Russian financial flows. Work for

“I have some of the same issues that Mr. Menendez had. … All those things are important to me,” Max said in a brief interview.

“I want to make sure that we have a real, strong NATO ally so that we can work together. So there’s dialogue and discussions that I’ve had,” he added. “It’s a wait-and-see game right now.”

Sen Ben Carden (D-Md.), who is slated to replace Menendez as Senate foreign relations chief, declined to tell reporters Wednesday how he would approach the issue once he takes office. will

Outside the leadership of the committees that oversee US foreign policy, other lawmakers are taking a hard line to pressure the administration. Although not as influential as committee leaders, these lawmakers have pushed for legislation to tie the administration’s hands on the sale.

“Nothing has changed when it comes to Turkey getting the F-16,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), an outspoken critic of Turkey, said in a statement. “The U.S. Congress will not accept any sale unless certain conditions are met. I will continue to push to ensure that until Sweden is admitted to NATO and Turkey will not receive the F-16s until Turkey commits to respecting Greek airspace and ceasing aggression against its Syrian Kurdish allies.

There is also considerable resistance to combat sales in the House. Lawmakers last year blocked Joe Biden’s push to sell F-16s to Turkey. Defense Policy BillWhich is led mainly by Democrats.

The clause — which blocked the transfer of the jets until the administration could certify to Congress that the sale was important to US national security and that the warplanes would not be used to violate Greek airspace. – did not survive negotiations with the Senate. Compromise on defense bill.

Leaders of the push say nothing has changed despite the Senate’s staunchest critics of the proposal being sidelined.

“I have consistently opposed the sale of F-16s and advanced weapons to Turkey.” Frank Pallon (DN.J.), one of the initiative’s sponsors, said in a statement. “I will continue to urge the Biden administration not to proceed with the sale.”

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