US F-35 diplomacy with Ankara puts Washington in Catch-22

The F-35 sale is therefore symbolic of a much larger problem.

June 21, 2018 16:21
2 minute read.

Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin speaks about Israel's use of the F-35 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit) Adir stealth fighter jet

Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin speaks about Israel's use of the F-35 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit) Adir stealth fighter jet


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The US Senate voted 85-10 to restrict sales of the F-35 to Turkey on Monday. The bill, gaining steam since March, has major bi-partisan backing. “Turkey’s strategic decisions regrettably fall more and more out of line with, and at times in contrast to, US interests,” Senator James Lankford said in April.

Foremost among these strategic interests is Ankara’s cozying up to Russia and seeking to buy the S-400. But the larger regional picture is bigger than just a NATO power going arms shopping in Moscow. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces elections this month, has been seeking a détente with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and has been meeting frequently with him in the last year.

Turkey has expanded its operations in northern Syria, invading the province of Afrin in January with the claim that it was fighting the terrorism of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkey has frequently condemned the United States for its role in eastern Syria where the US is partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the war against Islamic State.

Ankara sees the People’s Protection Units, a member of the SDF, as a part of the PKK. In January Turkey accused the US of “supporting terrorists” in Syria and its rhetoric against Washington has not been one of an ally, but more often of an opponent.

There are other problems as well. Last year Turkish security attending Erdogan’s visit to Washington fought with protesters. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce condemned the behavior.

Then there is the current relationship between Ankara, Doha and Tehran that has caused concern in Washington. Since the Gulf crises last year in which US allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates broke relations with Doha, Turkey has been the main supporter of Qatar.

Saudi Arabia has been critical of Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and Turkey has been at odds with US allies. In addition Turkey recalled its ambassador from Washington over the US embassy move and has been hosting emergency sessions of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, condemning Israel and withdrawing its ambassador.

The F-35 sale is therefore symbolic of a much larger problem. “Good for US Senate. Only way to play ball with Erdogan is to play hardball. Turning over our most advanced fighter jet while he buys Russian S-400 takes country in an anti-US direction,” tweeted Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz on Tuesday.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

July 23, 2019
Bones recovered in Vatican may be teen's who went missing 36 years ago


Cookie Settings