The US has blocked the handover of two decommissioned frigates to Turkey, as Congress excluded Turkey from a bill seeking permission to transfer vessels to foreign countries, mentioning Mediterranean tensions.
The US approved the “Naval Transfer Act” bill in late December and had authorized the transfer of six naval frigates to Mexico and Taiwan but eliminated Turkey over political concerns.
However, some members of Congress objected to the transfer of naval frigates to Turkey, mainly citing the country’s strained relations with Israel and Greek Cyprus in the Mediterranean.
“I believe we should hold off on sending powerful warships to Turkey and encourage the government in Ankara to take a less belligerent approach to their neighbors,” Congressman Eliot Engel was quoted as saying by Turkey News Today.
Congress members emphasized Turkey’s tension with Greek Cyprus over energy sources off the divided island and its threats against natural gas exploration by American companies in the region.
In the 2012 version of the “Naval Transfer Act,” Turkey was to receive two Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigates, the USS Halyburton and the USS Thach, which are being decommissioned by the US Navy.