WASHINGTON, July 10 (Reuters) – Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said on Monday there was a temporary “pause” in Turkey’s “aggression against its neighbors” and said he said it is in talks with the Biden administration about the grip it has on future US sales of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.
Menendez, a Democrat, said in a brief hallway interview that while he is still concerned about Turkey, he could make a decision within the next week on the status of that hold.
His remarks came the day Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to forward Sweden’s bid to become a member of the NATO military alliance to parliament.
Asked whether these advances could prompt him to reconsider his long-standing grip on fighter jets, Menendez said, “We are in discussions with the administration.” He added, “If they (the Biden administration) can find a way to ensure that Turkey’s aggression against its neighbors ceases, which there has been a lull in the last few months, that’s great, but there has to be a permanent reality”.
Menendez also said there had to be a way to “strengthen Greece’s security” and get “assurances about future actions.”
When asked how long it might take to make a decision about continuing the suspension of F-16 sales to Turkey, Menendez replied, “Probably, if there is one, in the next week.”
Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio
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