Monday, August 16, 2010

USA and Turkey: The Odd Couple

USA and Turkey: The Odd Couple.

See if you can keep up with these zigzags.

1. Obama vs Erdogan: The Financial Times reported the following today:
President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey’s prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the US weapons it wants to buy.

Mr Obama’s warning to Recep Tayyip Erdogan is particularly significant as Ankara wants to buy American drone aircraft – such as the missile-bearing Reaper – to attack the Kurdish separatist PKK after the US military pulls out of Iraq at the end of 2011.

The PKK has traditionally maintained bases in the remote mountains in the north of Iraq, near the Turkish border.

One senior administration official said: “The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally. That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry that it would like to fight the PKK, will be harder for us to move through Congress.”

Washington was deeply frustrated when Turkey voted against United Nations sanctions on Iran in June.
Kudos to US President Obama for this bold move.

2. Israel continues selling weapons to Turkey, despite Turkey's ongoing antagonism towards Israel, banning Israeli warplanes from using Turkish airspace, etc. Why does the US have the guts to do what Israel does not?

The JPost reported a few weeks ago, that Israel is still selling military equipment to Turkey, and is sending 4 unmanned surveillance drones to Turkey.

So the USA is a better friend of Israel than Israel is to itself?

3. Question: Where are 90% of the engines for the USA's F-35 advanced tactical fighter jet, manufactured and assembled?

Answer: Turkey.

UPI Reports:
Turkish Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan said that Turkey's defense contractor KaleKalip will start manufacturing F135 engines for F-35 Joint Strike Fighters along with Sikorsky helicopters under license from the United States' United Technologies Corporation, the Star Gazetesi reported Wednesday.

Caglayan told reporters about his meeting last week with UTC executives aboard a plane en route to Turkey from the United States, noting that UTC's discussions with KaleKalip began last week, adding, "They will sign a deal next week."

KaleKalip initially will produce 90 percent of F135 engines' components for the F-35 aircraft and eventually will manufacture the entire engine.
4. Question: Who announced they are now buying a squadron of 20 F-35s for the cost of 2.7 billion dollars?

Answer: Israel.
The F-35 warplanes are expected to be delivered between 2015 to 2017, an Israeli defense official said.

Israeli leaders have spoken of arch-foe Iran potentially developing a nuclear weapon by mid-decade, suggesting that the F-35s would not be used for any preventive action, but rather to bolster the country's deterrence.

A ministry statement said Barak "approved in principle the recommendations of the Israel Defense Forces and the Defense Ministry to move ahead" with the purchase.

The stealth fighter, made by Lockheed Martin Corp, "will afford Israel continued air superiority and maintain the technological edge in our region," the statement quoted Barak as saying. (reuters)
Will the US find itself in a strange position that while supporting their strategic ally, Israel, they will be preventing weapons from going to Turkey...and perhaps even face delivery and engine manufacturing issues for their F-35?

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FlyMeToTheNoom said...

Who needs the F-35? Besides its stealth outer layer, nothing about it makes this a superior fighter plane.
It's weapons load is not that impressive. It's heavy. It gobbles fuel. No supercruise (can you believe that!). It's expensive.

I know it's supposed to be multi-role, and not specifically for a2a. But Israel probably plans to use it as a2a, hoping the stealth will prevent lock-on and rely on that to make up for its slower turn rate.

The F-22 can probably work within S300/S400 corridors (think Iran).

Can the F-35? No one knows.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well that's not gonna happen. It's against US law to sell F22s to any foreign country. And the entire F22 production line has recently been shut down, making it unlike that any more will ever be produced.

Good thing Iran has apparently not been able to deploy the S300 yet.

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