WASHINGTON AND ANKARA AFTER PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN TURKEY

The US administration was ready for the victory in the general elections in Turkey by Erdogan and his supporters from the Justice and Development Party, and took it calmly. However, it is noteworthy that the first who congratulated Er-dogan with his reelection were the Iranian President H. Roukhani and the Russian President V. Putin. Trump also waited almost two days before sending his congratulations – much more formal and less warm.
Despite the emerging improvement in Turkish-American relations, which was manifested in particular when an agreement was reached on joint actions in Syrian Manbije, Washington remains wary of the Turkish president and the “autocratic renaissance” of the government that he started. It is expected that some additional angles in cooperation will be mitigated during the meeting of Erdogan and Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12, but knowing the nature of the head of the White House, one can not exclude that the meeting may not resolve the existing problems, but generate new ones . There are grounds for such an assumption.
The surveys conducted on the eve of the elections in Turkey by the famous “think-cap factory” from the USA by the Center for American Progress showed that 40% of Turks are trusted as a priority partner in the international arena of Russia and only an astonishingly low 3% trust the United States. At the same time, 55% of Turks want to remain in NATO, which, in general, is also a low figure.
Washington does not intend to admit its guilt in such moods of the Turkish population and sees its main reason in the political course being pursued by the Turkish leadership. The White House extends one hand to Erdogan, and in the other holds a large stone.
British The Guardian on the basis of the election results that Turkey needs the United States and Europe for a number of strategic, political, practical and geographical reasons, but Turkey under Erdogan shows itself as a fickle friend. “Not a particularly reliable ally, it is increasingly perceived as a threat.” The publication of US business circles The Wall Street Journal in the spirit of the American mainstream in the media, on the contrary, tends to ascribe responsibility for the self-will of Ankara to President Trump, who, he said, circumvented Turkey by focusing on North Korea, Iran and Russia. “Having gained another victory, Erdogan is likely to become an even more difficult partner,” the Wall Street Journal believes. Both estimates are rather superficial. It’s not the actions of the leaders of the two countries and not the mood of their political elites, but the growing disagreement between the geopolitical interests of Ankara and Washington in the Middle East. This explains everything else.
The forthcoming post-election steps of the sides also speak of the future difficulties in the contacts of the US and Turkey. In particular, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell said that if Ankara acquires Russian S-400, the relations between Turkey and the US will be difficult to restore. He explained that sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the law “On Countering the Enemies of America through Sanctions” (CAATSA).
However, it will not be easy to “break” Turkey. The C-400 system, valued at $ 2.5 billion, is considered by Ankara as a universal protection tool not only from “enemies”, but also from “friends.” In Turkey, they understand that the possession of this system will allow the country to significantly strengthen its status in regional politics. Of particular importance to the S-400, if Turkey decides to proceed to air strikes against American-sponsored Kurds in Northern Syria. The very presence of such a powerful anti-aircraft weapon can stop even the aircraft of the Western coalition from reckless intervention. An important role for Ankara is played by the issue of prestige. Once the agreement is signed, it must be fulfilled. It is no accident that the Turks do not want to give up the contract and are asking for the acceleration of deliveries starting in July 2019. Apparently, the general operation of the Turkish army against Rozhava is planned for this time.
For his part, Minister of Economy of Turkey, Nihat Zeybekchy, at a press conference on June 27 categorically stated that the US demands to stop the pur-chase of oil from Iran do not oblige his country to anything. Moreover, he said, that Turkey will pay attention to the fact that “Friendly Iran does not face the un-fair consequences of such actions.” Ankara will be guided only by decisions of the United Nations on this matter, in all other cases its national interests remain dominant. This is not surprising, that half of the imported oil to Turkey is from Iran.
The importance of Zeybekchy’s statement is that it was made contrary to the multibillion-dollar sanctions and other repressive measures by which the United States threatens Turkey due to cooperation with Tehran. So, in May, one of the leaders of the Turkish state bank Halkbank Mehmet Hakan Atilla was sentenced to 3 years in prison for relations with the Iranians in New York. The Turkish minister spoke in general for maintaining the free trade regime in the world, which also contradicts the recent course of the US administration for protectionism. In addition, Zeybekchy said that Turkey will carry out limited imports of potatoes from Syria (4 thousand tons) in order to bring down domestic prices for this product. The gradual restoration of Ankara’s trade with its neighbor is also hardly good news for Washington.
Experts believe that Erdogan is ready to “reset” relations with America, but only on his own terms. First of all, they fully freeze the cooperation of the USA with the Kurdish formations in the north of Syria, the cessation of activity in the territory of America of the organization of F. Gullen and the extradition of the lat-ter to the law enforcement organizations of Turkey. According to the French Le Figaro, Erdogan knows that he is irreplaceable in such matters as the Syrian war, the fight against terrorism and the management of the flow of migrants. And here he can “impose his own speed of development.”
For many, especially prestigious reasons, the conditions of the newly elected Turkish president are hardly acceptable for the White House. So at this stage the “meeting in Manbije” of American and Turkish military patrols risks being one of the few examples of a real successful cooperation between the United States and Turkey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*