Attending a ceremony held at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command in the province of Konya to put into service the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft as part of the project entitled ‘Peace Eagle’, President Gül underscored the fact that these highly developed aircraft, which are owned by very few countries, have made not only the Turkish Air Force and the Turkish Armed Forces but also the Republic of Turkey even stronger, carrying Turkey to a very privileged position among its allies.
The President noted that “today is a special day for the Turkish Air Force, which was one of the world’s first aeronautical organizations and which is increasingly getting stronger each day on the basis of what Atatürk once said: ‘the future is in the skies’. We are a nation that was introduced to aircraft 100 years ago, that used them in World War 1 and that made planes before cars. I am very proud at observing that we have augmented our aeronautical defence capability with the contribution of the AWACS.”
“This system, like the F-16 fighter planes, has initiated a new era in Turkish aeronautical and defense capability” reiterated the President, further stating that “these highly developed aircraft, which are owned by very few countries, have made not only the Turkish Air Force and the Turkish Armed Forces but also the Republic of Turkey even stronger, carrying Turkey to a very privileged position among its allies.”
“THESE AIRCRAFT ARE LIKE FORCE MULTIPLIERS”
Declaring the AWACS planes to be indispensable elements of modern combat technologies and of the defense doctrines of NATO, of which Turkey is one of the oldest members, President Gül added: “There is a well-known saying in our language. ‘If you want peace, you must be ready for war’. The AWACS planes are very developed aircraft which not only detect all kinds of air vehicles and missiles and eliminate the threats they could pose. They not only serve as radars but also are aircraft that have a command and control center. Therefore, they are like force multipliers and add to our strength indeed. The data that will be provided continuously 24 hours a day by the AWACS will enable us to carry out the necessary border controls and effectively help the security of Europe’s southern wing. These aircraft will both consolidate Turkey’s strength and fortify its deterrence capability.”
Recalling that similar aircraft were deployed by the coalition powers led by the US during the first Gulf War in 1991 and proved to be very useful, President Gül noted that Turkey also effectively used the AWACS and Patriots provided by its allies during the second Gulf War and said the AWACS planes were stationed at what is today the 3rd Main Jet Base Command in Konya. These AWACS aircraft have become far more sophisticated through high-tech equipment today. “We will benefit from these aircraft along with our allies when it is necessary, so it is a source of pride for Turkey to have these AWACS planes.”
The President further extended his thanks to the Prime Minister, the Chiefs of the General Staff, the Air Force Commanders, the National Defense Ministers, the Undersecretariat of the Defense Industry and other commanders all of whom he said have made efforts in this regard.
After the memoir photo of the protocol group was taken, President Gül, TBMM Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other officials explored one of the AWACS aircraft. President Gül also closely examined the cockpit of the plane.