Ankara and Washington, meanwhile, have numerous, painful strings to pull against each other. Even if Turkey receives F-35s, Washington could cut off access to the aircraft’s ALIS cloud-based network, largely crippling the stealth fighter’s capabilities. Turkey has threatened to purchase Russian S-500 missiles and Su-57 stealth fighters if it is denied F-35s, or to kick U.S. troops out of Incirlik Airbase—which is vital to U.S. operations in Syria and hosts U.S. nuclear weapons. So far neither side appears inclined to budge.
Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.
Image: The sun sets behind an Australian F-35A Lighting II at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2018. The first Australian F-35 arrived at Luke in December, 2014. Currently six Australian F-35's are assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron where their pilots train alongside U.S. Air Force pilots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham). Wikimedia Commons