Plans continue apace to sell Turkey our next generation F-35 Joint Strike fighter. While Turkey is part of a consortium and will help build the fuselage, its participation is a diplomatic nicety rather than a necessity. Even so, the fuselage does not contain the top-secret electronics and other technology that the increasingly antagonistic Turks might share with their new partners in Iran and China. After all, Turkey’s new intelligence head is known to be an Islamic Republic groupie, and Turkey earlier hosted aerial war games with the Chinese air force without first informing the Pentagon or NATO.
Against this backdrop, it is good news that the Turks are now complaining that the United States is reluctant to give them flight codes for the new fighters. Let’s hope that President Obama will not concede when Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calls to complain.
Given the propensity and ability of both the Iranians and Chinese to reverse-engineer, it would be far better if the United States declined to sell any F-35s to Turkey. Alas, Senators Carl Levin and John McCain are asleep at the switch: the Senate Armed Services Committee has not even required that the Pentagon report to Congress on the vulnerability of F-35 technology leakage should the United States sell any planes to Turkey.