US shelves transfer of frigates to Turkey

Turkish soldiers watch the action in Kobane, as Islamic State takes on the Kurds in the Syrian border town — but refuse to get involved.

The United States has shelved the handover of two leftover frigates to Turkey, as Congress excluded Turkey from a bill seeking permission to transfer vessels to foreign countries, citing Mediterranean tensions.

The U.S. approved the “Naval Transfer Act” bill in late December, approving the transfer of six naval frigates to Mexico and Taiwan, but eliminated Turkey over political concerns.

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 U.S. Navy.

However, some members of Congress objected to the transfer of naval frigates to Turkey, mainly citing the county’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 reportedly said during that debate…

Turkey’s presence in NATO is a leftover from the Cold War and does not correspond to present realities.