No, the withdrawal of U.S. F-15s from Turkey doesn’t mean NATO is leaving one of its members alone

The U.S. has withdrawn twelve F-15 fighter jets from Turkey but new NATO assets are on the way.

On Dec. 16, the U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles and Strike Eagles that were moved to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey just last month, have started returning to their homebase at RAF Lakenheath, UK.

The twelve F-15s were not only deployed in response to the Government of Turkey’s request for support in securing the sovereignty of Turkish airspace, but also to prove the U.S. Air Force ability to deploy aircraft  and Airmen on short notice to Turkey, if needed.

Six of these Eagles were F-15C air superiority fighters that flew training missions with Turkish Air Force aircraft enhancing the interoperability between the two services. During the deployment, a bilateral agreement to summarize the procedures for combat air patrol (CAP) missions to be performed by U.S. aircraft in Turkish airspace has been reached.

Along with the F-15Cs there were six F-15E Strike Eagles which joined U.S. and coalition air assets in attack missions against ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq (even though the extent of their involvement in the raids is not clear).

Noteworthy the withdrawal of the U.S. Air Force jets coincides with a new series of measures approved by NATO to strengthen Ankara’s air defenses on its border with Syria.

As reported by Reuters this defensive package will include both naval presence and maritime patrol aircraft.

An AWACS platform will monitor airspace exchanging information via data link with ground, airborne and sea based commanders with the latter stationed on German and Danish ships already sailing in eastern Mediterranean.

Moreover Spain has agreed to deploy its Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries on Turkey border after those belonged to Germany and U.S. have been withdrawn.

Although these defensive measures have been set to boost the Turkish airspace protection, they will also serve to discourage further incidents between Russia and Turkey after that a TuAF F-16 shot down a RuAF Su-24 near the Turkey-Syria border on Nov. 24.

Image credit: Senior Airman Trevor T. McBride and Staff Sgt. Stacy Fowler / U.S. Air Force 


      • Any better explanations than just a “that’s total BS.”? Syria is receiving some complete S-300 systems now. They are an independent country and therefore have every right to react to incursions that are not authorized by UN or themselves. And we should have learned by now that the US is only waging a full scale war against countries that are considerably weaker.

    • Haha! What a huge lie, the F-15 could easily cope with the SU-30s as it did in Red Flag 2008 with the Indians. Hell I bet the F-16CM Falcons could do it. You’re just here to rant about America

  1. From an operational perspective (with regards to the air power side of things), how critical is Turkey to NATO? I have heard from a few that as the bulwark against any military threat from the Middle East, Turkey plays an important role in that aspect, but how vital is its role as such really?

    I’d rather not be a Google scholar and get some informed opinions instead!

    • Now that Turkey has turned to the dark side I don’t think we should sell them anything i’d also assume that when a new Commander in Chief comes in to office he will stop treating Turkey like its the old Turkey.

      Its a radical Islam hotbed now, as evidenced by the 3 US Navy boys who nearly got lynched this summer, or the soccer game where they booed the French Anthem. They attack the main folks that are working against ISIS, they deny the Armenian Genocide. WTF? the only reason we ever gave them a second glance was their proximity to the Soviets, and later to Iraq in 1991. However those issues and passed, Turkey has gone radical Islam – please someone, anyone, explain why we should let them use one single US asset, much less the F35. what a joke.

      As Putin put it (from AFP)
      ‘Putin also accused Turkey’s leaders of overseeing a “creeping Islamisation” of the country “which would probably cause (modern Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal) Ataturk to turn in his grave.”

      • Hi,
        The (civil / liberation / terrorist) war waged between Turkey and a part of their population which are the kurds killed around 30 000 people in 30 years.

        Basically you want your NATO ally “Turkey” to work hand in hand with people they consider as terrorists – Maybe the best, would be to pressure/convince first Turkey to solve their issue with the kurds.
        The islamisation of Turkey is certainly an issue – however, I feel that we are just facing divergent national interests. As for Isis and Al Nusra, i’m not a specialist and I confess that I could be naive but maybe Turkey has a plan to cope with them (????)

    • Turkey have the power army of middle east, the problem is his recent authoritarian drift. It is a member of NATO ( that is no reason to exist after the cold war) but bombing pkk that fighting against ISIS send troop in Iraq for control pkk and Shiites troops. They destroyed a russian Su 24 and bought oil from ISIS. The situation is very complicated but the NATO nations seem to accept this and helping turkey against Russian instead helping Russian against ISIS and rebels. Assad is not an angel but politically and strategic is the only solution for the stability of the region. In the last 15 years we help de facto to create terrorist threats with the Iraq invasion and Libya and Syrian support of the revolutions. They were the only secular states of the area. now the only credible partners against Isis are Iranian… Hezbollah. And Russian.. It’s sounds like a joke.

      • For some unknown reason (call it oil…?) US policy-makers have always been very indulgent with Sunni radical states: some of the most authoritarian, anti-democratic countries of the world where torture is an established form of punishment with several of them clearly supporting terrorist organizations with the very same cash they earned trading with the US/ West.

        US middle eastern diplomacy looks so hypocritical, hateful and corrupted to the ordinary citizen, that sometimes it is difficult to justify by any mean as opposed to the harsh treatment that other regimes, still authoritative and anti-democratic, but secular received over the last decades on the basis of their attitude towards democracy.

        • I know foreign policy is complex…but I can’t explain how USA and his alleys makes everytime same errors….in the past 10 years helps to destabilize the entire maghreb and middle east area and the problem is now totally for EU with millions of refugees approaching our borders and Isis 300 km far from Italy in Libya!!

        • It’s not about “democracy”, it’s about geopolitical, and financial interests.
          The worst ME dictatorships are happily supported by the yanks, as long as they fall in line, and provide heavy profits.
          “He may be a SOB, but he’s our SOB” tells everything about yank foreign politics.

  2. The introduction of the F-15’s appeared to be just sabre rattling (on behalf of Turkey and therefore also ISIS and other assorted rag bag of extreme Islamists) but now US and Russia are closer to consensus on Syria they’re standing them down, along with Patriot missiles. Air Superiority is not required against ISIS so it can only be aimed at Russia. Turkey is out of control and not fit to be in NATO or the EU. Erdogan is a terrorist sympathiser and enabler and his caliphate should be stopped for all our sakes. Germany too has removed missile and troops from Turkey.

  3. this is a warning to erdogas: he islamizes turkey and he helps IS a lot. also his imperial osman “streak” in both iraq and syria is further destabilizing the region. NATO is not pleased and over half of the NATO nations threaten to leave turkey alone, if it does not cease the islamist antics.

  4. The funniest title in ages… I always found the Stotterberg clown as hilarious, but a good laugh can also be found at TAV, from time to time.
    Last month it “seems to be aimed at flexing the muscles against the Russians”, now it’s “enhancing the interoperability between the two services”… whatever.
    Wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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