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INSIGHT - TURKEY - on Iran/F-35s/PKK

Released on 2012-03-09 18:00 GMT

Email-ID 72057
Date 2009-11-08 23:52:17
PUBLICATION: background/analysis
ATTRIBUTION: Turkish military source
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Turkish air force pilot in DC for training on F-35
joint strike fighter
SOURCE RELIABILITY: don't know yet
**we covered a lot during this little coffee date, but highlights are
below. see especially what i got out of him on Israeli mil/special forces
training in Turkish mountains for prep against Iran. will be seeing him
again friday night for any follow-up questions
(source is in DC for 3 yrs to train on and integrate the F-35 joint strike
fighters into the Turkish air force, which they'll get in 2015 i think. he
has been a pilot for the Turkish air force for 9 years, participated in a
lot of dogfights over the Aegean, bombing raids in northern Iraq against
Integration of the F-35s is very difficult and complex, but I feel like
the US made TUrkey pregnant with this jet. You know it's like we're 4
months pregnant or something, there is no going back. But we do need this.
Besides Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Singapore are all after the
F-35s. If we don't get these we will be put behind.
US-Turkish defense ties are growing a lot stronger, you can see by this
deal. it's a lot of money, $10.5 billion dollars. Now the Greeks, tell me
how the EU can justify their defense spending? because of Turkish threat?
What TUrkish threat? (source then goes into looong explanation on how
Greece has imposed these restrictions on air space over Aegean - the 6 mi
v. 12 mi controversy that Turkey says Greece imposed unilaterally...he is
apparently very pissed off at the Greeks). What happened to those days
like in 1974 when Turkey and US were doing joint flights over Greek air
space (laughs). As you know, US supplies both Greece and Turkey... there
is not much we can do about that.
Turkish-Israeli defense ties are still very strong. I have participated in
a lot of Anatolian Eagle exercises and i'm disappointed in how we acted
this year in kicking Israel out (source was clearly very secular, very
military, not a fan of AKP). The military is not happy about this, but it
is a political decision in cabinet for Turkey to invite foreign countries
to our exercises. IT was an AKP decision, not a military decision.
I dont think TUrkey will do anything if US/ISrael strike Iran. We know
about the ISraeli air defense integration that they've achieved recently
(didn't elaborate on this). Now what is interesting is you know Iran has
very rough terrain and in winter it is especially difficult weather.
Israel is on mediterranean, very different weather. So, guess where
Israeli forces are training now? Turkish mountains.
If the US really cooperates closely with Turkey, and I mean REALLY
cooperates, then there is a chance Turkey could allow use of its air
space, maybe. When Turkey was bombing PKK targets in northern Iraq, i was
doing those bombing raids based off intel provided by US. (I ask, so then
if US is cooperating and sharing intel, what more does TUrkey want?) The
targets were not important ones. US is still holding back on that
information. Last year, US also prevented Turkey from carrying out an
operation in northern Iraq. (sounds like tensions are still very much
You are right, the TUrkish military's influence has weakened under AKP.
Miiitary couldn't win hearts and minds of Kurds so AKP is doing this new
strategy. (source then gives very typical Turkish explanation of how there
is no such thing as Kurdistan, Kurds are really Turks, dont have a real
language, etc.)