Top diplomat from Turkey will travel to the US amid tensions
Turkey as well as both Turkey and the United States will aim to settle a string of disagreements among the NATO allies as they meet when the Turkish Foreign Minister visits Washington in the coming week. However, expectations that outstanding problems can be solved are not high.
Mevlut Cavusoglu will leave on Tuesday to meet on Wednesday with his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken in an unusual visit by an important Turkish official. U.S. President Joe Biden is in charge of the administration. Biden has maintained its distance from Turkey due to the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian policies as well as policies that limit freedoms and rights.
At the intersection of East and West Turkey continues to be strategically vital for Washington. The previous year the Turkish government was instrumental in negotiating an important agreement that was signed between Russia and Ukraine that permitted millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be shipped to international markets, preventing an outbreak of food shortages during the conflict.
NATO allies but, often, are at odds with each other over a range of problems, with the largest disagreements centered around the purchase by Turkey of Russian-made weapons and American aid to Kurdish terrorists in Syria.
The purchase of the S-400 air defense system in 2017 resulted in the imposition of sanctions as well as Turkey being dropped from the development programme for the next generation F-35 fighter aircraft. After losing an F-35, Ankara is currently trying to replenish its F-16 fleet. However, the plan is facing opposition in Congress.
Cavusoglu appeared optimistic this week that the agreement for the acquisition of F-16 aircraft and the technology needed for the modernization of its current fleet of F-16s will overcome congressional hurdles.
“We agreed to an arrangement with the (Biden) administration. It is vital that the administration has made it clear that the deal is not just important for Turkey but also for NATO too,” Cavusoglu told reporters. “If the administration is steadfast … it is likely that there’s no issue.”
U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel has responded to reports in the media about reports there is a possibility that the Biden administration is seeking congressional approval to ship F-35s into Greece as well as yet another NATO member and neighbor who is getting more and more irritated with Erdogan’s threats.
“Turkiye along with Greece both are crucial and vital NATO allies, and we have a history of naturally helping their security apparatuses. But I’m not going to get in the way of the game here,” Patel said, using the term for Turkey used by Erdogan’s administration.
The situation in Syria, U.S. support for the Kurdish militant group YPG in 2014 has angered Ankara due to ties to YPG as well as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK that has led an insurgency for 39 years to Turkey and is classified as a terrorist group in The U.S. and European Union.
The support to an organization called the YPG has led top Turkish officials to charge Washington of being involved in terrorist attacks, such as the November Istanbul attack that killed six people.
U.S. concern over Ankara’s close relations with the Kremlin is reviving thanks to the conflict in Ukraine. Despite the fact that Turkey has ties with Moscow that have led to breakthroughs like the prisoner swaps and grain deal, Washington is worried about sanctions-busting since trade between Russia and Turkey have increased over the past year.
UPDATE: Turkey's top diplomat to travel to US amid troubled ties https://t.co/HerwxTU4U0
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The dragging of Ankara’s feet over the ratification of the bids of Swed
en as well as Finland joining NATO has contributed to tensions between NATO allies.
The recent efforts of Turkey to rekindle relations with Syria after 10 years of bitter animosity has triggered a second rupture in relations with U.S. After a meeting between Syria as well as Turkish defense ministers held in Moscow earlier this month in the U.S., it was reported that the U.S. State Department reiterated its opposition to nations that seek to normalize relationships with Damascus.
The department’s chief spokesperson, Ned Price, said during a weekly briefing to the media that “we haven’t observed any evidence that the administration in Damascus has performed anything that merits normalization or better relations.”
“Anyone who is engaged with the regime must consider how their involvement is beneficial to the Syrian people, the people who are the ones who have suffered the most of the retribution their government has done to their people.” Price added.
The U.S. military has also warned that a threatening Turkish attack against YPG within northern Syria could weaken the region and bring it back as the Islamic State group.
In a separate dispute that has been brewing for a long time that has been dragging on for years, it was announced that the U.S. The Supreme Court was scheduled to consider the Halkbank matter on Tuesday.
Halkbank, a Turkish State-owned bank is being accused of money laundering, bank fraud , and conspiracy to help Iran escape sanctions. The bank’s lawyers say that the indictment of 2019 is illegal pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.