Arms sales to Turkey should be expedited: Blinken

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U.S. top diplomat has said foreign military sales to key Washington partners like Turkey and India should be sped up and bureaucratic hurdles removed.

Asked during a congressional testimony what the Biden administration can do “to cut through the red tape to help our work with our allies such as Turkey and India,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that the processes need to be hurried at both the executive and congressional levels.

“I think that we can and should do better in sales, particularly in the rapidity with which we’re able to do things, review things. I think that’s on us in the executive branch. It’s also on Congress,” he told the House Appropriations Committee.

The sale of U.S. weapons to NATO ally Turkey became problematic after Ankara acquired Russian-made defense missile systems, triggering U.S. sanctions as well as Turkey’s removal from the F-35 fighter jet program.

“A number of countries, as I said earlier, are rethinking their relationships, including with Russia, including countries that have had long-standing defense relationships with Russia. If we’re in a position to be a partner to them in ways that maybe we couldn’t be some decades ago, I think that’s something we need to be able to act on,” he said. -Agencies