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Foreign Policy

Trump Takes on Erdogan's Regime

Standing strong for a detained American pastor; yanking F-35s until further notice.

Harold Hutchison · Jul. 27, 2018

If you’re wondering if Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan is taking any hints lately, well, we have some answers. While pastor Andrew Brunson is being released from prison, he is still being detained under house arrest by the increasingly Islamist and tyrannical Erdogan regime. Congress is getting tough, putting provisions in the defense policy bill that block Turkey from getting F-35s.

This is long overdue. The fact of the matter is that Ergodan has been no friend of the United States, and he certainly seems to have more in common with the bad guys of the world than as a leader committed to securing human rights and freedom — a true NATO ally. When you detain a Christian pastor on trumped up charges of taking part in a coup, maybe you don’t get American F-35s.

Even without the unjustified detention of pastor Brunson, a reevaluation of America’s relationship with Turkey has long been overdue. Thankfully, President Donald Trump has come around on this, publicly demanding Brunson’s release with the threat of sanctions. If you’re detaining Americans on trumped up charges, you’re not exactly a friend of America.

We laid out a few markers earlier this year indicating it’s not a good idea to give a fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter to Turkey. Seriously, would you give a friend of Hamas the F-35, the latest in fighter technology? There may be some international disputes that people can disagree on, but the one between the genocidal maniacs of Hamas over Israel is not one of them. Being a friend of Hamas is clearly a sign on impaired judgement at best.

Some observers are making a big deal out of Turkey buying the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system. This is not a friendship-ending move in and of itself. Greece acquired S-300s in the 1990s after Russia made an ill-advised sale during the Yard Sale at the End of History. But Greece has let Israel train against its S-300 battery.

Turkey can certainly be a huge help to the rest of NATO by allowing the S-400 to hang out at Nellis Air Force Base a few times a year to take part in Red Flag exercises. Giving American and NATO pilots a chance to train against this Russian system is the least a NATO ally that managed to buy it can do.

Turkey is slated to buy 100 F-35As. While two have been delivered, both are at Luke Air Force Base — and America can easily repossess them. The other 98 are still on order or in the production line — and it’s easy to redirect them to a more deserving country.

So far, Erdogan’s still being a jerk about all this. He’s going to find that comes with a heavy price. Like maybe seeing Israel get those 100 F-35s on his dime. It would be a better deal for the United States…

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