The F-35 is the next generation fighter jet designed to ensure NATO’s air superiority
for the next twenty to thirty years. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development program is a nine-country international consortium, which includes a tiered system of states that collectively contributed to the aircraft’s development and manufacture. Turkey is a Level III
partner, meaning it invested an initial $125 million in the program. This investment affords Turkey a program office staff member in the F-35 office, but also means that Turkey has no direct vote on the F-35’s basic engineering and mission requirements. Ankara has invested $1.25 billion in the program since 2002, and Turkey manufactures several key components
of the F-35. Despite these investments, Turkey’s future involvement in the F-35 program is no longer certain.