10 October 2010

China-Turkey Joint Air Exercises

Looks like China and Turkey zipped around the sky a bit together.

The air forces of China and Turkey have carried out a joint exercise, the U.S. Defense Department said on Friday, in what appeared to be the first such drill involving Beijing and a NATO member country.
Turkey assured the United States it would take the "utmost care" to protect sensitive U.S. and NATO technologies, said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Tamara Parker, a department spokeswoman.
She described Turkey's government as committed to the NATO alliance and the continuation of strong ties to the United States.
"To the best of our knowledge, U.S.-made F-16s were not involved in the exercise," Parker said. She referred a caller to the Turkish government for details of the maneuvers.
The office of the Turkish defense attache in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
Turkish press reports have said the exercises took place September 20 through October 4 at the Konya air base in Turkey's central Anatolia region.
Some U.S. experts described the exercise as underscoring China's capability to operate beyond its territory.
David Finkelstein, director of China Studies at the CNA research group in Alexandria, Virginia, said it may be the first time China's People's Liberation Army air force engaged in a combined exercise with a NATO country in a NATO country.
"Indeed, an incipient expeditionary PLA is in the making," said Finkelstein.

By: Brant

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