Haluk Özdalga, a prominent Turkish journalist and former member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belongs to, has made a scathing attack against the policies of his former political party.
As Turkey opted to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defence system despite being a NATO member, it was withdrawn from the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program that “were developed especially against Russia and China,” according to Özdalga in an article for Ahval.
The journalist says “Greece, which seeks opportunity, can take the air superiority, increase its territorial waters to 12 miles and turn it into the Aegean Greek lake.”
Just as a correction, Greece already has air superiority, proven by the fact Greek pilots have won in consecutive years NATO’s “Best Warrior” award, especially at a time when many in Turkey’s air force were jailed in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt against Erdoğan.
The Aegean Sea effectively already is a “Greek lake” because of Greece’s already existing air superiority and a navy that has never been defeated in battle since its modern formation in 1821.
Athens has not increased its territorial waters to 12 miles as permitted by international law only because Turkey has said this will be a casus belli for war. Greece as a responsible country is trying to avoid war at all costs, while Turkey seeks it constantly as its endless threats against Greece and failed invasions of Syria and Libya attest to.
Greece has bought a squadron of 24 fifth-generation F-35 planes that are a purely aggressive weapon with stealth capabilities, and is upgrading 84 fourth-generation F-16 Fighting Falcons and many of its Mirage 2000 fighter planes that are excellent for dogfights and have excellent maneuverability.
Özdalga says with Greece’s purchase of the F-35’s means “balances can be turned upside down in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Cyprus.”
Turkey was supposed to be a part of the F-35 manufacturing program and ordered 100 of the jets. However, Erdoğan’s insistence in also wanting the S-400 pushed Washington to suspend Turkey’s involvement.
Levent Özgül, a Turkish defence analyst for Blue Melange Consultancy, has also said Greece’s acquisition of the F-35s “will be the most important milestone and capability jump for Greece and the Hellenic Air Force.”
What is Turkey’s loss is now Greece’s gain.
Speaking to Greek City Times, a Greek military source said “the F-35 changes the game completely.”
“It gives any air force the ability to penetrate deep in enemy territory and take down radar and antiaircraft installations like the S-400. As the eastern Mediterranean is a large area, the F-35 advanced electronic suite, radar and sensors, in combination to its small radar control system, gives the F-35 air superiority against their adversaries,” the source said.
The source also revealed that the advantages of the F-35 is not so much its stealth technology, but the artificial intelligence.
“The artificial intelligence control system combined with advanced sensors gives the F-35 pilot nonparallel situational awareness. This situational awareness allows the pilot to see and coordinate enemy and friendly assets in a way never seen before in the battlefield. Target acquisition sharing and engagement enables the F-35 to see, plan and attack before its enemies even know it is there,” the source explained.
The source then revealed how the F-35’s and upgrades to the other fighter jets will be a “final blow to Ankara’s plan.”
“The other mission that the F-35 is designed to do well is deep penetration within surface to air missile (SAM) protected areas. The scenario is like this: an F-35 flies undetected deep inside enemy territory and disables the radars of the SAM sites. Thus opening a corridor for the F-16s, drones and others to enter through. Greece needs a maximum of 30 F-35s… even 10 would be enough for now, in combination with the F-16 Viper upgrade and it will be the final blow to Ankara’s plans – it renders them useless,” the source concluded.