Turkey, US air forces conduct military exercise in Konya
Turkey and the United States began a joint military exercise, Anatolian Falcon 2012, in the Central Anatolian city of Konya last week as tensions escalate in Iran and Syria.
The combat exercise began March 5 and will continue until March 15, according to a statement released by the Press Operations Center of the US Department of Defense. The point of the 11-day air combat exercise is to increase the interoperability of the two states' air forces.
“Training with the Turkish air force now ensures smooth communication and tactical effectiveness if we should ever have to go to war together,” said US Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Murray, commander of the 480th Fighter Squadron. “Our air forces pride themselves on adaptability and flexibility, and this exercise showcases those capabilities by allowing us to work with our international partner in fast-paced training scenarios.”
Turkey's joint military games with the US mostly were conducted in partnership with Israel and sometimes with other allies. Turkey cancelled several military drills with Israel both in Konya and in the eastern Mediterranean last year amid escalating tensions with the Jewish state, also prompting a US pullout from these war games.
The Press Operations Center statement explained that the most critical tactics being focused on during the military exercise are those used against surface-based air defense systems, as US pilots share their Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) techniques with Turkish pilots. SEAD, also known as "Wild Weasel" and "Iron Hand" operations, are military actions to suppress surface-based air defenses and anti-aircraft artillery.
Fifteen jets and 250 personnel attached to the US's 480th Fighter Squadron, currently stationed at a US air force base in Germany, came to Turkey for the joint exercises with the Turkish Air Forces (THK).
Military air exercises between Turkey and the US were intensely disputed in 2010. The US refused to participate in October 2010 as Turkey had cancelled an international segment of the Anatolian Eagle military training by excluding Israel from the exercise.
Turkey said it cancelled the military exercises because of a botched flotilla raid in which eight Turkish citizens and a US citizen of Turkish origin were killed on board the Mavi Marmara by Israeli special forces while attempting to deliver a shipment of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
- At least 10 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza
- 10 dead, 22 missing in Hiroshima landslide
- Afghan government bans NYT reporter from leaving country
- Missouri suburb braces for more racial unrest but calm prevails
- Beşiktaş draw 0-0 at home to Arsenal in first leg of CL
- 'Islamic State' video purports to show beheading of US journalist
- Turkish lieutenant killed, another soldier injured in PKK attack
- Top Saudi cleric: Islamic State is Islam's enemy
- Ankara rejects Israeli claim Turkey helped coup in West Bank
- Turkish President Gül: Davutoğlu to become new prime minister
- Argentina car crash kills 3 relatives of pope
- Turkish sergeant who took part in Lice statue removal dies
- Three killed in traffic accident in central Turkey
- Government says considering talks with PKK's military wing
- Israel attacks Gaza targets, recalls negotiators as truce collapses
- 5 youths taken to ICU after bonzai drug trip in Bursa
- Turkey may send floating power station to Gaza
- At least 34 injured in Kastamonu bus accident
- WHO says Ebola has killed more than 1,200
- 78 CHP provincial heads announce support for Kılıçdaroğlu
- Libyan militia fire rockets into affluent Tripoli residential district
- Hundreds of Taliban fighters begin offensive near Afghan capital
- Bomb kills 6 on way to school in northwest Pakistan
- Blast in China coal mine traps 27 miners
- US ship finishes neutralizing Syria's worst chemical arms
- Wounded Palestinian transferred to Turkey for treatment dies
- Man given one year in prison for tweet about governor's wife
- UN launching major aid operation for half a million in northern Iraq
- Syria strikes militants as US targets them in Iraq
- US police come under gunfire, arrest 31 in Missouri racial unrest
- Islamic State message to America: "we will drown all of you in blood"
- New operations target police investigating tender-rigging, spying
- IS fighters halt Iraqi offensive on Saddam's hometown Tikrit
- Israel, Palestinians renew truce but see risk of more Gaza violence
- One killed in Lice clashes over removal of statue of PKK member
- Israel: Coup attempt in West Bank planned by Hamas official in Turkey
- US says conducted 15 airstrikes around Mosul dam, Kurds claim capture
- Amnesty, HRW: Israel blocks collecting Gaza war crimes evidence
- Court decides to demolish controversial statue of PKK member
- UN sees progress in Iran nuclear probe
- Reports: Islamic State group kills Syria tribesmen