Izmir Airshow 2011, Tukish Airforce Celebrates his 100th Anniversary.

On the first weekend of June 2011 the Turkish airforce celebrates a Century of fly at Izmir-Cigli with a two days airshow, inviting a number of surrounding friend nation to partecipate. It was the "Not To Miss" event of the year bringing close to Europe Asiatic nation like Pakistan, Jordan, but also European ones like Romania, Bulgaria and many more. It was also an incredible occasion to see some Turkish hardware that it almost impossible to see here in Italy.

Izmir is the third city of the Turkey with a popolation over 4 million. It's locate along the western coast of the Turkey, on the Aegan Sea. I'ts one of the most turistics center of the Anatolian Penisula, with a strenght orientation towards Europe. But it's also the biggest Turkey export seaport thanks to many Free Taxes Area surrounding the city. His history run since the 3000 BC, making Izmir one of the oldest city in the Mediterranean Basin. Until 2013 Izmir hosted a Nato Air Command, nowadays only the Nato Army Command is left in the city. The Air Command was in charge of handling the security of the southern region of the NATO shield. The last sccessful mission of the Command was the Unified Protector Mission in Lybia. Besides the Nato Headquarters Izmir it's also a huge Turkish Military Spot. Infact there are two Air Force's Base, but also an Army one. The bases are Izmir/Kaklic and Izmir/Cigli. The last one was the base choosed to host the Centennial of the Turkish Air Force. Both Airbases hosts Training units, at Kaklic there is the 123 Baslangiç Filosu with SF-260D but also the 125 Nakliye ve SAR Egitim Filosu with UH-1D, AS532AL and Casa CN235M. At Cigli there are the 121 Tekamül Filosu with the newly update T-38M "Ari" and the 122 Temel Filosu that from the 2010 is changing from the T-37 to the KT-1T. They all operates at the order of the 2nd JUUO with the main purpose of training the future pilot of the Turkish Air Force.

NF-5A 3039

T-38A 23611

For his own Centennial the Turkish Air Force pull out a huge Airshow, eneabling many spotters to partecipate to a well organized Spotter's day. We were able to access to the Izmir Base on the Friday before the main event, allowing us to catch the arrival of many foreing delegations for the show. Sadly most of the Turkish Air Force partecipation were already on place, still there were plenty of action for all of us. The spotters attitude didn't finish that friday morning on base, the Air Force allow us to enjoy the rest of the rehearsals and arrivals from the approach. With a perfect alignement of the runway 35 in Izmir, the afternoon light hits the incoming fighter with an outstanding contrast, expecially the sunset golden ones on the demo team photo formation. On the arrival/rehearsal list there were some good news like the Bulgarian Mig-29, the pakistani demos with both the JF-17 and the F-16. Not to mention the practice of the USAF Thunderbirds and one of the first appearence of the Airbus A400. Finally we can't not talk of the amazing powerful demo of the SOLO TURK at command of the Major Murat KELEŞ, with one of the most wonderful exhibition starting with an incredible low Take-Off followed by an inverted flight still over the runway, but also the extras flares dispensed all aver the airbase. On the static display there were a wonderful RF-4E with a new livery two tone dark-grey among all the Turkish Air Force inventory, included the E-7 Wedgetail still under testing in the USA and a newly delivered F-16D Bk52+.

On Saturday, there were hundreds of thousand people on base enjoying a restless airshow, ending with a hearth breaking demo from the Turkish Star Team. On that day the Turkish Air Force celebrated his own history started on June 1911 founded by the Ottoman Empire. Just after that htey were involved in the Balkan War and the following World War I. At the end of it at the order of Mustafa Kemal they faught for the Indipendence of the Turkey, allowing the Treaty of Lausanne that lead to the establishment of the Republic Of Turkey. In those years the Air Force gradually became bigger and more orgnanized taking examples from the best Air Force, like the United Kingdom or France. But for some aspects it was way advanced than the other, in fact, already in the 1937 Sabiha Gokcen flew as the first female fighter pilot in history. During the World War II the Turkey remain neutral until the 1945 when she allied whit the Allies, even if she were sourrounded by the Axis powers. In the 1944 the Air Force became a separate branch of the Turkish Armed Forces becaming the Hava Kuvvetleri Komutanligi getting new hardware from the Allies. After that in the 1951 Turkey founded her first fighter wing, the 9th Ana Jet Ussu at Balikesir. The following year Turkey became a member of the NATO taking part at all the major conflicts, like the Bosnia, Kossovo Wars but also the Iraq War. Nowadays theTurkish Air Force it's the third of the NATO as number of airplanes, with over 200 F-16, a hundred of old F-E and RF-4E and F-5. As for training they use about 50 upgraded T-38, KT-1T and SF-260D each. Finally the Transport fleet include C-130, C-160, CN235, KC-135 used also as tankers, and it's acquiring the A-400. The Turkey it's also acquiring AWACS capabilities in the shape of the E-7.


Marco's Photo Gallery Marco's Photo Gallery Marco's Photo Gallery

Text and Photo by Marco Sommacal