"You Can't Control Us" - Turkey Threatens To Retaliate If US Blocks Sale Of 116 F-35s

In the latest sign that Turkey is seriously considering leaving NATO as its relationship with the security bloc (and the US in particular) continues to deteriorate, Turkish Prime Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Thursday that the country would retaliate if a bill being pushed by House Republicans to block arms sales to Turkey becomes law.

As Reuters reports, lawmakers released details on Friday of a $717 billion annual defense policy bill that included a provision to temporarily halt weapons sales to Turkey. During an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk, Cavusoglu criticized the measure, saying it was wrong to impose such a restriction on a military ally, alluding to the fact that Turkey has graciously allowed the US to use its Encirlik air base to launch its air strikes against ISIS (as well as against Turkey's enemy the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad).

"If the United States imposes sanctions on us or takes such a step, Turkey will absolutely retaliate," Cavusoglu said. "What needs to be done is the U.S. needs to let go of this."

While still a ways away from becoming law (and its unclear if President Trump, who has publicly praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) the proposed US National Defense Authorization Act would block sales of "major" arms to Turkey until a report on the relationship between the US and Turkey (which is also a component of the law) is completed by the Pentagon.

The implied target of the bill would be the 116 F-35 Lightning II fighters that Washington has promised to sell Ankara, of which 100 are almost ready to be delivered.

The bill is in many ways a response to Turkey's recent purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia. Though Turkey's relationship with Russia is still far from amicable (indeed, the two countries almost became embroiled in a military confrontation after Turkey shot down a Russian jet that was allegedly flying through its airspace back in 2015), the purchase has unnerved NATO and the US. The Russian weapons, Reuters notes, aren't compatible with NATO's defense systems. 


Turkish Prime Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Cavusoglu last month that the US was "seriously concerned" about Turkey's buying of the S-400s (of course, we imagine American defense contractors weren't thrilled either).

Cavusoglu criticized NATO's consternation over the sale of Russian arms and accused it of trying to control Turkey and infringing on its sovereignty.

"Turkey is not a country under your orders, it is an independent country... Speaking to such a country from above, dictating what it can and cannot buy, is not a correct approach and does not fit our alliance," he said.

Despite Trump's warm feelings toward Erdogan, the Turkish president's recent visits to the US have only served to inflame the conflict as his body guards repeatedly attacked Kurdish protesters that showed up to confront Erdogan during a trip to the home of the Turkish ambassador outside Washington DC and during a speech he gave in New York City while he was attending a session of the UN General Assembly. The beatings elicited charges against one of Erdogan's body guards and a Turkish national living in New Jersey.

Last year, both countries temporarily curtailed embassy processing of visas after Turkey arrested an employee of the Turkish consulate in Istanbul as tensions flared.

Turkey leaving NATO would only be the latest sign that the Cold War alliance has entered a state of collapse as President Trump has repeatedly criticized it and castigated most of its members for not paying their fair share for their defense.

Of course, we doubt the bill will be successful - as it stands, it appears to be merely a threat by hawkish Republicans in the House. But if Turkey does eventually leave NATO, would that too be Russian President Vladimir Putin's fault?



philipat bluecollartrader Mon, 05/07/2018 - 04:38 Permalink

Um, shouldn't the US be delighted that somebody, anybody, wants to buy a large number of F-35's? The F-35 is an expensive lemon and Turkey shouldn't get so upset about not being able to buy, well, a turkey. Russia could sell Turkey much better warplanes for a fraction of the price. And I'm sure that is no secret to either side. Seems to me like a piece of theater to ease the process for Turkey to back out of its NATO commitment to buy F-35's and instead buy Russian Su-30+ serires, or Su-35 series or even Su-57 series (probably not yet) jets?

PS. And even if Turkey actually buys F-35's, if it ever gets into any type of dispute with the exceptional country, the exceptional country will refuse to supply spare parts. Of which the F-35 needs A LOT. This has already happened on many occasions with earlier, yet functional, US jets such as the (Not full spec sold to other less than 5-eyes countries)) F-16's. This is another way in which the exceptional country bullies other countries, like with sanctions, which explains why so much of ROW is now trying so hard to escape from the USD system and using such US supplied systems.

In reply to by bluecollartrader

philipat bluecollartrader Mon, 05/07/2018 - 04:53 Permalink

Agreed. Let's await the final outcome. However, I would take bets that Turkey orders Russian jets instead of F-35's under its NATO "commitments". NATO was already not too pleased that Turkey decided to buy S-400 SAM systems from Russia (also at a fraction of the price of US alternatives). Time will tell, of course. I'll make a note of your avatar and get back to you either way.

In reply to by bluecollartrader

Déjà view philipat Mon, 05/07/2018 - 05:05 Permalink

Wailing Wall Street can sell 'em more insurance policies...

In 1999, California attorney Yeghiayan made a surprising chance discovery while reading the memoir of former U.S. ambassador to the ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau. Thousands of Armenians had purchased insurance policies from New York Life in the Turkish Ottoman Empire before the Armenian Genocide began in 1915, yet the survivors who attempted to collect on the policies left by their massacred family members were largely refused the money they were owed. New York Life had only paid the heirs of about one third of genocide victims who had purchased insurance before the genocide.

Yeghiayan was determined to file a lawsuit against New York Life to settle these policies with their rightful heirs, but he needed a client who could prove that a member of his or her family who had been murdered in the Armenian Genocide had purchased such a policy. He found one in Martin Marootian, a descendant of Armenian Genocide survivors and victims. Marootian became Yeghiayan’s lead plaintiff because he still had his deceased uncle Setrak Cheytanian’s original New York Life insurance policy documents, along with documentation of how he and his family had tried in vain to collect on it for years.


In reply to by philipat

PrivetHedge Aliens-R-Us Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:14 Permalink

No need, the 'concurrent design/build' method has ensured that major design flaws are all built in and way too expensive to fix later.

The old fashioned was was to design something, test and refine it and then mass produce it. The new trendy way to greater profits is to involve your customers in the R&D cycle so the whole project costs far far more but the profits scale accordingly.

It's the ultimate pharisee image/glitz over function. It's not as if anyone's going to use them against real aircraft like the Russian ones, the main feature the modern US warplane needs is precision wedding party bomb mode, Palestinian strafing ability and a fast U-turn and run for home.

In reply to by Aliens-R-Us

NickelthroweR PrivetHedge Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:20 Permalink


In WWII, the P51 Mustang went from an idea to something that was flying around in just 6 months.  It took less than another 6 months and these things were flying off the assembly line.  It was the most capable fighter plane of that era.  

The Germans, too, had some unbelievable weapons progress in just a few short years even though their factories and cities were being carpet bombed.  That the USA now needs decades to produce a new fighter shows how far we've fallen.  God help us if we ever go to bat against a real opponent again.

In reply to by PrivetHedge

silverer Pearson365 Mon, 05/07/2018 - 07:42 Permalink

A better question is why would they want underperforming super expensive F-35's anyway? China has developed quantum radar that pretty much snuffs out the "can't see me" aircraft. Then you've got yourself a flying 55 gallon drum that can't get out of its own way or fly at high speed at low altitudes without opening the bomb bay doors to cool its overheating engines. WTF?

In reply to by Pearson365

Offthebeach silverer Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:10 Permalink

You guys love...love..vapor weapons...Russia has..China has....( someday, decades away, unemployed , first generation....) vs US deployed , active, in case of F-35 second going on third Bloc.  

Yeah, Lockheed, et al are idiots.  I remember you ignorent soyboys crying about the F-15 .....development AND deployment( 150+ Soviet to zero F-15 record )


In reply to by silverer

Offthebeach PrivetHedge Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:10 Permalink

We've retired aircraft( F-117 ) that Russia hasn't even made yet, let alone equipped , deployed and experienced.  

Russia has not the pilots numbers, flight hours, the aircraft, nor aircraft quality( generations behind)  the maintenance,  nor experience in up tempo environments.  So good luck with that sporty scarf, bite of sausage, slug of vodka and off into wild blue yonder .



In reply to by PrivetHedge

LaugherNYC PrivetHedge Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:19 Permalink

Perhaps you need to read what actual pilots have to say, Russian troll boy.

In ACTUAL flight, as opposed to computer sims based on pre-production specs of the FIRST prototype, the results are pretty impressive:


the US has ALWAYS been at the leading edge of fighter design, and that is where the problems happen. The Russians can’t afford this, so they wait and plagiarize. that is fine, and it allows them to build good planes without all the r and d costs and the shakeout timing. BUT, it does not mean the US winds up fielding inferior planes. This process has repeated over and over, and in every encounter to date, the Russian planes and their pilots have regretted the experience. No reason to change expectations.


in fact, in actual fighting experience, the F-35 has belied the critics by making the pilots LOVE it when they actually have to fight for their lives. No, it will not have the best specs in all categories, as it is a multiple use platform, but it qcan be effective in the long run because you don’t have to develop three new planes.


no, the F-35 is not the worlds “best” air superiority fighter. Given our corrupt MIC neither is it the cheapest. It may be that the us will have to keep producing alternatives for that role. But neither is it the POS that the Russian trolls would have it be. Add to that the fact that US pilots have long decimated every other country’s in actual battle, even flying tin cans, and the US need not be too worried. 

In reply to by PrivetHedge

flapdoodle Pearson365 Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:51 Permalink

I suspect the decision for them to buy the F35s was made well before their recent "pivot" east. (Knowing the Turks one should always take their friendship with a grain of salt - they are master backstabbers).

That said, I haven't seen anything that contradicts the meme that the F35 is a worthless piece of shyte, so I think Turkey is secretly thrilled they get out of the contract.

I would have expected the F35 to be used in the recent Syrian airstrike or by the Israelis, but so far this seems NOT to be case, giving up a great live-fire testing opportunity - they are too afraid to use it in combat yet as a failure or shootdown would be a tremendous PR disaster for L-M as well as the US aura of superiority - which is fading fast anyway and could actually have used a boost with a successful F35 mission.

Interesting that the MIC is preemptively coming out with reports of all these wonder weapons right now, huge ship lasers, swarm drone technology, the B21, a "Space Force", etc. Of course, these are just reports and deployment never seem to arrive.

They are terrified that the US sheep will look up and ask what happened to the 700billion a year being spent on all these US weapons and why the best fighter in the US arsenal is arguably still the F15 designed over fifty years ago (!)

In reply to by Pearson365

Krugg philipat Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:47 Permalink

It could be part of a ruse though, that strike on Syria was a unmitigated disaster. So if I was in charge I'd stage a public falling out, act angry about Turkey buying the most up to date defense systems the Russians would be willing to sell, and then our "war games" could be played with the enemy's own equipment, what better way to find out what it's truly capable of?  lol Probably not even close to being like that, but just a thought. 

In reply to by philipat

FreeMoney philipat Mon, 05/07/2018 - 09:23 Permalink

The real mistake here is selling weapons at all to societies that have neither the industry nor the science to have created any of their own.

If the US was smart, they would never export any weapon.

Really, why arm a future enemy?

And while I'm on that kick, why station any troops outside of our own borders? 

We don't need to subsidize our trade deficit by providing protection to competitors. 

In reply to by philipat

rtb61 philipat Mon, 05/07/2018 - 05:37 Permalink

It seems much more likely Turkey wants to bail on buying the F35 Flying Pig, hence the loud rhetoric about demanding to be able to buy, to force the US to say no and cancel the contract without penalty to Turkey, enabling Turkey to buy much cheaper Russia jets instead.

So contracts at play and avoiding contractual penalties the goal but the US will look really, really stupid in they do not cancel the deal, make no mistake Turkey will let Russia have one, as a negotiating tactic for economic advantage and to really, really piss off the US.

The F35 is a really buggy POS and letting Russia explore all those bugs, not a good idea, otherwise the F35 flying pigs are likely to develop a habit of falling from the sky for inexplicable reasons ie exploiting bugs in the computer software and hardware, high tech planes are really shit to keep secure. The more code and chips, the worse off you are, security becomes a major headache and you can bet, they will find exploits long before anyone else does.

In reply to by philipat

Guderian rtb61 Mon, 05/07/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

Let's assume that the F-35 is-, or is in the process of being the best combat aircraft.

Why would Turkey need the F-35?

Who is Turkey going to battle? Realistically!





Better not! And if they were to attack- or defend against any of the above, F-35 wouldn't save Turkey from defeat.

Modern Russian combat airplane are good enough to defeat- or defend against potential enemies, such as Greece, Syria, Iran, Armenia, Georgia or any other.

It's no different from a car purchase; best buy what you actually require, instead of getting carried away by features, you won't need.

But this implies the inner conflict of Turkey with NATO. This purchase is only in part about the actual planes.

In reply to by rtb61