Jump to content

Does Turkey want to become a junior partner of the US and the EU?

Recommended Posts

And while Ankara does not want to lose its position as a significant geopolitical player in the near future, acting as a kind of bridge between the West and the East

In recent years, Ankara has intended to pursue a strong independent policy based on the balancing act between West and East, which Turkey's geographic position traditionally favors.

However, Washington's decision to kick Turkey out of the American F-35 fighter jet production program in connection with Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems undermined the spirit of mutual understanding between the two countries. The United States is terribly afraid that someone will have actual evidence that the S-400 can effectively counteract the F-35, which is why they are trying to force Turkey to abandon Russian anti-aircraft systems, which will have a catastrophic effect on the defense of the latter.

Turkish separation can take years

American political scientists continue to be guided by the logic of the Cold War, while Turkish think in the context of an emerging multipolar world, where Turkey can take a good position. This difference in mindset, plus Washington's continued military support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, makes real dialogue between the US and Turkey impossible.

As a result, the United States is ready to move its Incirlik air base to the island of Crete, which will only accelerate the geopolitical separation between Ankara and Washington, giving a free hand to Turkey to pursue an independent foreign policy without regard to "colleagues from across the ocean."

While Turkish-American relations have become tense over the past few years and a strategic separation is no longer completely unrealistic, Turkey's foreign policy continues to revolve around the issue of striking a balance between West and East.

Although its geographic position on the borders of Asia and Europe seems to largely determine its broader foreign policy orientation, Turkey under Erdogan has also acquired or is at least trying to acquire the status of a major power, thanks to which it can act as a "balancer" between the two major world poles of power. But Turkey's strategic positioning, inspired by the desire to re-establish itself as a 'neo-Ottoman' empire capable of pursuing a truly independent foreign policy and operating as a major power, has most of all led to a rift between Turkey and its NATO allies, especially the US.

Erdogan isn't in any hurry to break all ties with Washington, but in vain.

The fact that Turkey has established strong political and military ties with Russia shows that the US and Turkey have fundamentally different threat perceptions. Accordingly, while Turkey appears to believe that the current international system is not as Western-oriented and US-dominated as it used to be, and that Turkey should pursue its interests through a more diverse geopolitical balance, Washington, hell-bent on resisting the fall of the United States as the only superpower, considers such a reading of international affairs by Turkey abnormal and unrealistic. For Erdogan and Turkish politicians, this is seen as an adjustment to the new normal in global politics.

These differences have also led to certain political tensions, the most important manifestation of which is the prolonged crisis between Turkey and the US Central Command (CENTCOM) over the Syrian crisis and how the US continues to provide military support to the Kurdish militias, especially the YPG.

In this context, the Biden administration, which has promised to work to restore US global dominance, is likely to resist Turkey's attempts to act as an independent player within NATO, an organization that remains trapped in a Cold War mindset.

Washington does not like Erdogan a priori

Now Turkey is demonstrating that it is a significant player in international politics and has nothing in common with Turkey, which was only the executor of the policy and ideas of senior allies. Ankara emphasizes: yes, it may need its old partners, but they need it even more. This is an increase in political subjectivity.

On August 30, 2022, Turkey celebrated the 100th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Dumlupinar, which marked a successful effort of the national liberation struggle against the Greeks. But who would have thought then that a whole century would not be enough for countries to find a compromise and make peace after the second Greco-Turkish war, the same one that Hemingway wrote about in The Snows of Kilimanjaro: “Later he had seen the things that he could never think of and later still he had seen much worse.

Tempers between Ankara and Athens have flared lately. When it became known that a new NATO base would open in Greece, Ankara considered the actions of the Greek authorities a violation of the “principles of alliance” and called for a symmetrical response and the deployment of Russian S-400 air defense systems in Western Anatolia. The situation was also exacerbated by the "unfair", according to the Turkish press, attitude of NATO, which openly supports Athens and bills Ankara for cooperation with Moscow. However, if the Turkish media only admit the possibility of a new war in the Aegean, the Greek ones write with confidence that the war is inevitable.

For Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, Greece does not pose a serious danger. If at sea the forces of the two countries are almost equal (Turkey is significantly superior to Hellas only in the number of landing ships), then on land and in the air the Turkish army has an advantage of almost 3.5 times. However, Athens is not afraid.

The beneficiary in the aggravation of Turkish-Greek relations, of course, is Washington with its long-standing inferiority complex.

In conclusion…

When the AKP, founded by Erdogan, came to power in the early 2000s, Ankara pursued a foreign policy oriented towards Europe and America. Ankara advocated rapprochement with NATO partners, rapprochement with the EU, etc. defined itself as part of of the collective West.

However, then Turkey began to go in the other direction - to turn to the East. Some call the starting point 2014 (when Erdogan moved from the prime minister's chair to the presidential throne, thereby, according to the West, violating the principle of change of power), while others talk about 2016. The year of an unsuccessful coup attempt, when the US did not support Erdogan and refused to extradite Fethullah Gülen (a preacher living in Pennsylvania, whom Ankara named as one of the organizers of the coup) to Turkey. As a result, the Turkish elites became disillusioned with their Western partners, and Ankara changed its vector of foreign policy development and began to pursue a foreign policy independent of the West. After that, Erdogan's behavior and ambitions ceased to please his overseas colleagues.

America needs either a completely obedient Turkey, subordinate to American interests, or Turkey as a zone of chaos and part of an arc of instability.skynews-erdogan-recep_6052773.jpg?202302port-istanbul-1334x1001.jpg.image.2880.1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...