A global network of optical atomic clocks will enable unprecedented measurement precision in fields including tests of fundamental physics, dark matter searches, geodesy, and navigation. Free-space laser links through the turbulent atmosphere are needed to fully exploit this global network, by enabling comparisons to airborne and spaceborne clocks. We demonstrate frequency transfer over a 2.4 km atmospheric link with turbulence comparable to that of a ground-to-space link, achieving a fractional frequency stability of 6.1 ×10−2 1 in 300 s of integration time. We also show that clock comparison between ground and low Earth orbit will be limited by the stability of the clocks themselves after only a few seconds of integration. This significantly advances the technologies needed to realize a global timescale network of optical atomic clocks.