The Turks put their feet up and threaten Greece

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
10/09/22

The recognized abilities of Sultan Erdoğan to move with extreme ease in the folds of the Atlantic Alliance and to know how to deal with the Americans in such a way that in the end, Turkey's interests prevail (skills that are unknown to Italian politicians).

Ankara, despite having supplied the Ukrainians with TB2 UCAVs Bayraktar, did not join the sanctions against Moscow, like other NATO partners.

The Russians are building, at their own expense, a nuclear power plant in Turkey, as well as supplying half of the gas needs. Furthermore (the expected collapse of Russian GDP does not appear to occur, in fact the latest forecasts speak of a decrease of 4,6% on an annual basis).

Turkey has also intensified its military cooperation with Russia. This has already led, in the recent past, to Ankara's acquisition of the S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile systems.

As a consequence, the past Trump administration broke the agreement with Turkey for the purchase of the F-35Bs (the total order amounted to 100 machines, both in version A and B), the STOVL version which should have constituted the aviation embarked on the new aircraft carrier Anadolu. Not bad: the Turks are planning new embarked UCAVs, for air-to-air and air-to-surface combat tasks.

Turkey is now committed to acquiring the latest generation F-16Vs, the package would include 40 cars ex new and 80 already in service of the previous versions to be converted. The latest version of the Falcon is equipped with AN / APG-83 Active Electron Scanning (AESA) radar, a new mission computer and electronic warfare suite, an automated ground collision avoidance system and various cockpit enhancements.

As part of the Turkish F-16 modernization program, new air-to-air missiles are being developed and tested. The Turks presented two models of air-to-air missiles, called Bozdogan IIR and Gokdogan. While the former is classified as an air-to-air missile within sight range (WVRAAM), the latter is an air-to-air weapon beyond sight range (BVRAAM). The Gokdogan it is powered by a solid fuel dual-pulse rocket engine, and can travel at speeds of Mach 4.

After revoking the veto on the accession of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance, Erdoğan obtained (among other things) the promise, by the current Biden administration, to acquire the F-16Vs. even if the American president was keen to clarify that "I need congressional approval to do it and I think I can get it".

Maybe the White House tenant promised too much. Indeed, Congress recently passed a text requiring the Biden administration to prove that this sale of F-16s to Turkey was "absolutely essential" for US safety and to provide detailed assurances to ensure that these aircraft would not be employed for "undermine the sovereignty of another NATO member state", namely Greece.

On the F-16 issue, the sultan is beginning to get impatient, recently Ankara has tightened its attitudes towards Greece, even threatening possible attacks.

Erdoğan has indeed stated that in response to the Greek provocations (which ones?) Turkey “Could come (in Greece) suddenly, at night ". He also warned the Greeks not to go "too far", on pain of paying "a heavy price". Up to conclude with a not so veiled threat: "Remember what happened in Smyrna", he said referring to the conclusion of the Turkish war of independence and the end of the Greek occupation of Turkey, which occurred precisely in coincidence with the entry of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in today's Smyrna.

The AKP leader also warned of the possibility of a war of similar magnitude to that in Ukraine in the eastern Mediterranean. Definitely aggressive tones that can only partially be traced back to Erdoğan's internal difficulties and the approach of the most uncertain presidential elections in recent years.

Regarding the F-16 issue, the sultan recalled that “The United States is not alone in selling combat aircraft. The UK, France and Russia also sell them ", the Turkish president told the press. "You can get them elsewhere and some send us signals"he further added.

It is easy to argue that the sultan was referring mainly to Russia, given that in the past Ankara had shown great interest both in terms of cooperation in updating the Su-35s, and in a possible acquisition of the 5th generation Su-57 fighters.

Photo: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri / presidency of the republic of Turkey

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