|We might need to cross out a flag or two...|
May you live in interesting times.
"Interesting" does not begin to describe the event of the last few weeks. Mass shootings, terror attacks, the possibility of a Trump presidency...
Now comes word of an attempted coup in Turkey. While military coups are not unheard of, this recent Turkish coup stands out for two very concerning reasons.
- Turkey is a NATO country. This has ramifications for all NATO members if Article 5 is invoked.
- Turkey is a Level 3 partner in the JSF program with plans on buying up to 116 F-35As.
|Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan|
Turkish President Erdogan has been a controversial figure to say the least. While democratically elected, there claims he is evolving into a dictator. Turkey's tactics in the war against ISIS/ISIL not only armed extremist factions, but came close to sparking off WWIII.
Normally, this sort of behavior would lead to some sort of sanction, but friends are hard to come by in the middle-east these days.
The question is: Should the Joint Program Office follow through on selling F-35s to Turkey?
The obvious answer is a resounding "NO".
While the JSF still has its issues, it is still a highly advanced stealth fighter/bomber. In the interest of global security, care must be taken to insure it does not end up in the hands of a unstable, unpredictable, or extremist government. Doing so would be a recipe for disaster.
During the attempted coup, anti-government forces took control over one air force base. F-16s flew at low altitude over populated areas as a show of force.
It does not matter whether or not the coup was justified or not. At this point in time, Turkey is clearly an unstable nation. There can be no other option but to indefinitely postpone ANY weapon sales until proper order is restored.