US refuses to send F-16 training pilots to Turkey

US refuses to send F-16 training pilots to Turkey

The United States has refused to send F-16 warplane trainers to Turkey after Ankararequested them in order to fill the gap in the number of Turkish jet pilots, Hurriyet reported.

The F-16 jets of American firm Lockheed Martin constitute a majority of Turkey’s warplane fleet with 240 jets. The government, which has been focused on measures that would increase the number of jet pilots, is searching for F-16 trainers abroad. Pakistan was the only country to accept Turkey’s request. 

However, the U.S. objected to Pakistan sending F-16 jet pilot trainers to Turkey, based on the agreement that U.S.-origin equipment’s purchase, sale, maintenance and training between third countries needed approval from Washington. 

Upon the prevention of Pakistani trainers from coming to Turkey, Ankara renewed its request from the U.S. According to information obtained by daily Hürriyet, the Pentagon has once again rejected Ankara’s request, saying “there is no program regarding training pilots abroad.”

“If you send your F-16 pilots to the U.S., we can train them here,” the U.S. response read, while Ankara insisted on pilots receiving treatment in the bases in Turkey and in their own geographical conditions.