F-35s to Turkey? No way!

The United States shouldn’t reward bad behavior

By Georgia Logothetis, Managing Director

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Last year, Congress voted to block the sale of some 1,600 American-made semiautomatic sidearms to the Turkish government after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team attacked peaceful protestors outside of the Turkish embassy in Washington.

Now, Congress has to decide whether to block the sale of F-35s to the same “ally” who since then has engaged in even more provocative and destabilizing behavior, including threatening American allies in the region and even suggesting it could attack U.S. forces.

The decision should be a no-brainer. Once again, the deal shouldn’t go through.

For far too long, the Turkish government has fooled successive American governments — Republican and Democratic alike — into believing the current Turkish regime is a valuable ally in the region. Press conferences at the White House filled with handshakes and promises of “progress” (remember the promise to reopen the shuttered Halki Seminary from *six* years ago?) have yielded few results. In fact, over the years, authoritarianism has taken a strong hold in what was once heralded as a Middle East “model”. Turkey now leads the world in jailing journalists (even American ones), has arrested U.S. diplomatic staff, and threatened American troops in Syria fighting ISIS.

That’s not to even mention it’s continued posture in the Aegean, where it makes near daily incursions into Greece’s airspace and waters and continues its illegal occupation of Cyprus.

And the cherry on top of the adversary sundae is TUrkey’s bromance with Russia, a bilateral relationship which has blossomed under Erodgan and which threatens U.S. strategy and interests in the region. Save for a spat in 2015 over a downed jet, Russia and Turkey have worked closely on everything from energy to Middle East policy. Which brings us back to the F-35s that Turkey wants to purchase…

For years, Turkey has had its eyes on purchasing a Russian air defense system, the S-400. The issue becomes integrating that advanced anti-aircraft missile system with F-35 technology. Here’s a report from November 2017 explaining why that would be dangerous:

Analysts worry that Turkey operating both the S-400 and F-35 together could compromise the jet’s security, as any data collected by the air defense system and obtained by Russia could help expose the joint strike fighter’s vulnerabilities. For a platform like the F-35, whose major strengths are its stealth and data fusion capabilities, that would be a disaster.

There is a real danger in providing Turkey’s authoritarian president with advanced weapons that he may turn against our allies — including Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Armenia — and, possibly even U.S. forces. There is also the likelihood that Turkey may leak highly classified F-35 technology to our adversaries, including Iran and Russia.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and HALC have teamed together to help stop this deal. Use our new easy-to-use tools to contact your Senator today and tell them NO F-35s for such an unreliable ally!


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