THE JOINT ARMENIAN-HELLENIC AMERICAN DEFAMATION CAMPAIGN ON TURKEY’S INVOLVEMENT IN F-35 PROGRAMME
Commentary No : 2018 / 12
01.03.2018
3 min read

It has been reported in the websites and Facebook accounts of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and The Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) that they are jointly launching a campaign for encouraging U.S. Senators to block a planned sale of U.S. F-35 stealth fighters to Turkey.[1] They published “Action Alert” and invited thousands to send emails to their senators to stop the sale of F-35s to Turkey. They stress in their “Action Alert” that “calls are the most effective way to influence the Senate on this issue.”

According to F-35 Lightening II Lockheed Martin website, Turkey has partnered with Lockheed Martin for more than 25 years, primarily on the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and continued that partnership when it joined the F-35 Lighting II program during the System Development and Demonstration phase of the Joint Strike Fighter Program. As a program partner, Turkish industries are considered as eligible to become suppliers to the global F-35 fleet for the life of the program. In this respect, F-35 industrial opportunities for Turkish companies are expected to reach $12 billion in total.[2]

The participation scheme involves important public sector Turkish defence industry companies like Aselsan, Roketsan, Havelsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). There are also private-sector companies. Turkey’s workshare inputs for the F-35 programme include aero structures, including the “central fuselage, wiring systems, on-board electronics and stand-off range surface-to-air munitions, including a variant of the Roketsan Stand-off Missile (SOM-J)”.[3] It is reported that Turkish Aerospace Industries has already delivered the first center fuselage to be used in the production of the first Turkish JSF/F-35 Lightning II aircraft on 12 July 2017. It is also reported that Turkey expects to take delivery of its first Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft in 2019.[4]

The above-mentioned background information reveals that Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 programme is beyond simple acquisition. Turkey is a programme partner in F-35 production. Moreover, Turkey is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally and power that is a major purchaser of U.S. and European defence systems. Putting overt or covert restrictions on the sales of defence equipment to Turkey will definitely be, primarily, in total inconsistancy with the unified defence needs of NATO. Collective defence means that if one NATO member is attacked, then all NATO members are attacked. For instance, when terrorists attacked the United States on 11 September 2001, every NATO member stood with the US as if they had been attacked. The US has for years encouraged European countries to spend more money and to provide more for their own security. In total defiance with this stance, Turkey's request to purchase able defence systems from its allies like the US has been refused in number of cases. This incredible approach forced Turkey in making a decision to acquire advanced air defence systems like the S-400 from other producers These days, we further witness another Turcophobic mentality in the US. “Action Alert” type calls are made for stopping the sale of F-35 fighters to Turkey. These calls deserve to get “the most ill-advised call award” of the month. Amidst such a defamation campaign, the time has come for the US to face its citizens and ask whether it is “America first” or their ethnic origins.

*Photo:https://militaryedge.org

 


[1] “Greek and Armenian Americans Press U.S. Senators to Block F-35 Sale to Turkey” (Armenian National Committee of America, February 8, 2018), https://anca.org/press-release/greek-armenian-americans-press-u-s-senators-block-f-35-sale-turkey/; “Hellenic Leaders,” Hellenic American Leadership Council, February 22, 2018, https://tr-tr.facebook.com/HellenicLeaders/.

[2] “Industrial Participation: Turkey,” F-35 Lightening II, February 22, 2018, https://www.f35.com/global/participation/turkey-industrial-participation.

[3] Bilal Khan, “US Officials Contemplating Turkey’s F-35 Involvement in Light of S-400,” Quwa, November 21, 2017, https://quwa.org/2017/11/21/us-officials-contemplating-turkeys-f-35-involvement-light-s-400/.

[4] “Turkey Deliver’s 1st F-35 Center Fuselage for a Turkish F-35,” F-16.Net: The Ultimate F-16 Site, July 12, 2017, http://www.f-16.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=53258; “Delivery of First F-35 to Turkey Expected in 2019: Defense Undersecretary,” Reuters, January 23, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lockheed-fighter-turkey/delivery-of-first-f-35-to-turkey-expected-in-2019-defense-undersecretary-idUSKBN1571CU.


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