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If leading from behind is the first rule of the Obama doctrine, then its second defining feature is the disconnect between an adversary’s behavior and its reward. Over the last year, Turkey has sided with Iran on the nuclear issue, held secret air force war games with China without first informing the Pentagon or NATO, threatened to initiate military action against Israel and Cyprus, and made anti-American rhetoric a staple of the Turkish ruling party’s proxy press.
So what is Obama to do? Not only does the White House remain intent on selling Turkey the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, replete with stealth technology which Turkey could leak to its friends and our adversaries, but now, according to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House has approved provision of predators to Turkey. According to a report in the Turkish press:
“We will definitely resolve this problem and definitely make the Anka [Turkey’s own unmanned aerial vehicle prototype] operable,” one procurement official said. “In the future, the Anka definitely will become the most useful asset in fighting terrorism….” As success has been delayed in the Anka program, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last week in New York, after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a U.N. gathering, that Washington would provide Turkey with advanced Predator drones. Turkey first asked for both unarmed and armed versions of the Predator nearly three years ago.
So not only is Obama intent on providing classified technology to a country which threatens the use of force against American allies, but it also will provide Turkey with American technology that the Turkish government also wants to produce for its own commercial purposes. What could possibly go wrong here? What next for Obama? Sharing warhead designs with the Iranians?
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