Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a warning to Syrian forces Tuesday to stay away from the border after Syria shot down an unarmed Turkish RF-4E reconnaissance plane last week. In an email interview, Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based writer and analyst, discussed the state of Turkey’s air force.
WPR: What is the current state of the Turkish air force?
Gareth Jenkins: Turkey has one of the largest and best-equipped air forces in the greater Middle East. Its main strike force consists of F-16s together with F-4s and F-5s. In recent years, the air force has received a disproportionately large share of Turkey’s military procurement budget, which has been used to upgrade and modernize some of its older aircraft.