Turkey to train pilots on French-made Qatari jets to counter Greece’s Rafale fleet

Abdullah Bozkurt / Stockholm

Turkish Air Force to train with French-made Dassault Rafale jets from Qatar to counter the Greek army, which has increased its air force capabilities with fighter jets Newly acquired Rafale from its ally France, Nordic Monitor has learned.

According to documents obtained from a Turkish parliamentary committee, one of the reasons Turkey pushed Turkey to enter into a military training agreement with Qatar was to familiarize its air force with the capabilities of the aircraft. Rafale combat aircraft in an effort to counter a perceived threat posed by the Greek Air Force. in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean.

The military agreement, signed by the chiefs of staff of the two countries in March 2021, allows the temporary deployment of up to 36 Qatari military aircraft and up to 250 people in Turkey.

“It can be said that one of the reasons for the agreement between Turkey and Qatar is that Qatar would bring and deploy these Rafale planes, which it bought from France, in Turkey”, explained the lawmaker Gülüstan Kiliç KoçyiÄŸit by commenting on the articles of the agreement. during the deliberations of the Foreign Affairs Committee on November 30, 2021.

“Greece has taken a stand to challenge us both in the eastern Mediterranean and at our borders by buying Rafale jets from France,” she added. KoçyiÄŸit advocated a diplomatic approach to settling disputes rather than making military deals with other countries, including Qatar.

Documents of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations:


Ahmet Ãœnal Çeviköz, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and former ambassador, welcomed the deal, calling it a smart move by the Turkish military.

“Our air force inventories [of fighter jets] are different from each other. Of course, no one knows this better than the Defense Ministry. That’s why I feel a great intelligence shown by the officers here, ӂeviköz commented. He said it was evident that the deal would allow the Turkish Air Force to develop a combat capability against French-made Greek jets in the event of a conflict in the future.

“We are therefore not going to bring the French planes used by Qatar to our territory and train their pilots, but rather we will receive training. The intelligent mind behind this should be applauded. I’m really happy about it, ”he said.

It is not known how this would unfold and what are the terms of the sales agreement between Qatar and France regarding the deployment of Rafale jets in third countries and the training of pilots from these countries. It may well be that Qatar needs France’s approval. The agreement requires that a Turkish pilot be present in every Qatari plane.

In a similar case in 2017, the United States rejected a Turkish proposal to use Pakistani pilots to train Turkish pilots on F-16 fighter jets following the government’s purge of 680 of the 1,350 pilots. of the Turkish Air Force, which left it with a huge combat shortage. pilots.

Text of the Turkey-Qatar military agreement:

Tr-Qatar English

Although Turkey and France are NATO allies, the two countries have diverged on a number of foreign policy issues in recent years. President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan has repeatedly criticized French President Emanuel Macron and violently insulted him. In October 2020, he publicly declared that Macron needed mental treatment, and two months later he told Macron to cede the port city of Marseille to the Armenians if they love Armenians so much.

On December 21, 2020, ErdoÄŸan’s advisor Saadet Oruç accused the French president of pedophilia and suggested that the beheading of a French teacher had been orchestrated by the French authorities to track down Muslims because Muslims had become a power to be reckoned with and would soon overtake Christians in Europe. .

In January 2021, Greece bought 18 Rafale, including 12 used, for 2.5 billion euros and added six more to the order in September 2021, bringing the total to 24 jets. Turkey fears it may be on the verge of losing its air deterrent against Greece, especially after being kicked out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program following Ankara’s purchase of S-400 long-range missiles from the Russia despite opposition from the United States, a NATO ally.

Turkey is currently in talks with the United States to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin F-16 jets and nearly 80 modernization kits to modernize its F-16 fleet.

The Turkish-Qatari agreement stipulates that if Turkey requests, Qatari planes will be able to transport Turkish ammunition, personnel and humanitarian aid inside and outside Turkey, demonstrating that the he agreement is not limited to training. The agreement will remain in force for five years and will be extended by tacit agreement for successive periods of one year, unless one of the parties notifies the other of its intention to withdraw.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (right) received Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan on December 7, 2021.

The Qatari Air Force currently has a fleet of French-made Mirage 2000 and Rafale aircraft, and has also ordered 36 F-15Es from the United States. Qatar also signed a similar pilot training agreement with Italy in November 2020, expressing its intention to purchase Leonardo T-346 trainers widely used by the Italian Air Force.

Turkey has had a military base with around 3,000 troops in Qatar since 2017, led by the Qatar-Turkey Combined Forces Command, established in 2015. In addition, Turkey and Qatar have signed a security protocol for the deployment. Turkish police units during the FIFA World Cup. to be held in November-December 2022. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have repeatedly called for Qatar to close the Turkish base, which they say threatens stability in the region.

President ErdoÄŸan visited the Turkish military base in Qatar on December 7, 2021.

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