Air Chief Marshal Baber admits that Turkish pilots are trained by Pakistanis!

Turkish Air Force Commander Atilla Gülan and Pakistani Chief of the Air Staff Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu at the Pakistan Air Force Headquaters in Islamabad, Pakistan. 22 June 2023.

Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, Chief of the Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force, admitted in a press conference that his country's pilots are training their Turkish counterparts.

Following his meeting with a Turkish delegation led by General Atilla Gülan, Commander of Turkish Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sidhu revealed that "[Pakistani] pilots are playing an active role in training Turkish aircrew on a variety of aircraft, including trainers and fighters," reported Defence Turkey.

Air Chief Marshal Baber shared the plans of Pakistan's air force to modernise and make acquisitions from allied countries, upgrade infrastructure, and revamp training.

According to the report, the Air Chief highlighted that both countries enjoy long-standing religious and historic relationship which is manifested through unprecedented strategic partnership.

He said, "Pakistan values its strong diplomatic, economic, and defence relationship with Turkey which is based on convergence on all important issues relating to regional peace, security, and stability."

"The two brotherly countries have never left each other stranded in times of need and Pakistan Air Force will remain committed to providing training and capacity-building assistance to the Turkish Air Force," Baber added.

For his part, General Atilla Gülan said that both countries enjoy cordial relations and reiterated his resolve to further enhance the existing bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries.

Turkish Air Force Commander Atilla Gülan and Pakistani Chief of the Air Staff Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu at the Pakistan Air Force Headquaters in Islamabad, Pakistan. 22 June 2023.

Following the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ousted from the armed forces and state services anyone who had the slightest indication of dissent or a relationship with such views. Among those imprisoned or expelled, according to official figures from the Turkish Ministry of Defence, were 680 pilots of the air force, out of a total of 1,350 in Turkey.

In addition, of the remaining 670, some left voluntarily, and others retired, bringing the number to less than 400.

As a solution, the Turkish Ministry of Defense in 2017 made some very tempting proposals for private sector pilots, as well as retired air force pilots, to enter the air force with brief procedures. Due to general dissatisfaction, however, this resulted in less than 50 pilots being admitted through this program. See the first page of the 6-page related legislation discovered by Nordic Monitor below.


Due to this Turkey turned to their ally, Pakistan. Pakistan agreed to become the soul of the Turkish Air Force, although both countries had denied it, up until the recent revelation by Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu.

Pakistani pilots first, to common knowledge, flew Turkish fighter jets into Greek airspace during the November 2019 joint military exercises between Turkey and Pakistan.

On November 13, 2019, without filing a flight plan with Greek authorities, a Pakistani P-3 Orion Naval Co-operation and Information Collection Aircraft was flown into Greek airspace.

This incident made Greek military analysts realise that the exercise meant the beginning of a deepening new military alliance between Pakistan and Turkey, and the immediate necessity for a Greek-Indian partnership.

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