An outcry from Congressman and Greek-American groups that Turkey could use F-35 jets against Greece was ignored with the news website Defense News reporting the sale providing the fighters, more advanced than Greek F-16s, will go ahead.
Lockheed Martin told the news website that it is preparing for a rollout ceremony at its production facilities, a profitable deal for the company which so far has trumped Greek and Diaspora worries. “The rollout ceremony for Turkey’s first F-35 aircraft is scheduled for June 21,” a spokesman was quoted as telling the website.
A US Senate committee in late May passed a measure preventing the sale, citing Turkey’s detention of US citizen Andrew Brunson and its agreement with Russia to buy a missle weapons system in December.
That will provide Turkey with weapons for both countries at the same time President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is stepping up provocations in the Aegean, sending warships and fighter jets to violate Greek waters and airspace with no rebuke from NATO, to which both countries belong, and no intervention from the US, United Nations or European Union.
The Senate action would require proposals by the House and Senate be merged before any decision is made, which could take months, making it moot as Turkey will already have the fighter jets.
Greek fighter pilots regularly have to engage in mock dogfights with Turkish pilots but could soon also be faced with their F-16s going up against the superior F-16s with Greece relegated only to getting updates to its US jets.