Since the attempted coup of the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016, the Turkish Air Force has suffered major detriments. The Turkish Air Force was the prime culprit of the coup attempt and hence after the unsuccessful ouster of the government it was reduced significantly, action was taken against almost 300 pilots amongst thousands of army personnel. Some were forced to retire, some imprisoned and others sought asylum in other countries.
Ankara has according to EurAsian Times since then employed the help of ally Pakistan. The program according to news reports has been a ‘fast-track’ program to train new pilots.
The need of the hour for Turkey is urgent military recuperation since it’s involvement in Syria, Libya, the Nagorno-Karabakh, and the growing tensions in the East Mediterranean Sea.
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador lauds PAF
Last month, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Ali Zada paid tribute to the martyrs of Pakistan Air Force.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets had conducted a landing exercise on Lahore and Islamabad Motorways. Pakistan Air Force fighter and training aircraft had taken part in the exercise.
Commenting on a video of the exercise by the Pakistan Air Force on the social networking site Twitter, the Azerbaijan ambassador wrote that “The performance of Pakistan Air Force pilots has always been professional.”
“I salute the martyrs and invaders of the Pakistan Air Force,” he added.
Pakistan’s, Turkey’s growing military coordination
Greek media has since 2017 been reporting Pakistan’s growing involvement with the Turkish Air Force and military, saying, “With the support of Pakistan, the Turkish military is trying to fill big gaps left behind by last year’s (2016) failed coup attempt.
Turkey and Pakistan had also recently conducted large joint military exercises.
— PAF Falcons (@PAFFalconsPK) November 2, 2020
The Turkish defense minister had said about the exercises that they, “being the largest exercise ever regarding the number of participants, the 2019 Eastern Mediterranean Exercise is ongoing with participation from almost 4700 personnel and 48 ships from 15 nations.”
The claim was later made by the Turkish media saying that “Pakistani warships will patrol the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Following the exercise, Turkish media outlet Yeni Safak claimed that Pakistan was going to be “part of the shield” that Turkey had created in the south-eastern Mediterranean.” The reports claimed that Pakistan’s naval vessels – Alamgir frigate and the P-3 aircraft – would continue to patrol the south-eastern Mediterranean along with Turkish naval forces.
Tensions between the neighbors have been on the rise ever since the November 2019 maritime exercise between Turkey and Pakistan.
Turkish Air Force to push for rejuvenation
According to the defense analyst Michael Peck from the National Interest, the dismissal of hundreds of F-16 pilots following a coup attempt in 2016 could also explain the Turkish government’s interest in bolstering air defense systems. He claims the purge had led to critical damage to the military capabilities of the country and was, therefore, a grave national security issue.
Many military analysts have also suggested that the weakening air force might have been the driving force behind Turkey being so interested in acquiring missile systems.
GVS News Desk