Turkey Wants F-35Bs to Field an 'Aircraft Carrier in Disguise'
The ship in question is the Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship. The lead vessel was launched in 2005 and commissioned in 2007, and Seoul is currently in the process of building a second one. These are significantly smaller than Japan’s Izumo and the one Turkey is building. The Dokdos displace 14,000 tons when empty, but up to 18,000 tons when fully equipped. Media reports say the ships can carry up to fifteen helicopters and roughly 720 marines.
In some ways, Turkey’s ambitions are grander than either Japan or South Korea. Whereas those countries are only reportedly interested in light aircraft carriers, Turkey has been eyeing a full-fledged one. As Paul Iddon previously noted in The National Interest, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to build Turkey its own aircraft carrier in a in July 2017 speech. "We will build our own aircraft carriers," he said at the time.
The Hurriyet report about the F-35Bs reiterated Turkey’s interest in the aircraft carrier. “Over the next decade, Turkey also plans to build its first full-equipped aircraft carrier,” the report said. “Both aircraft carriers will be home to F35B aircrafts.” Ankara is also setting up military bases in Qatar and Somalia as part of its growing ambitions.
Zachary Keck (@ZacharyKeck) is a former managing editor of The National Interest.