19 февраля 2019 г. 18:01

The United States uses subjects like Patriot as a pressure tool – Turkish expert

The United States uses subjects like Patriot as a pressure tool – Turkish expert
Фото: da-info.pro

Despite being a member of NATO, Turkey also develops relationship with Russia, especially in the fields of normalization in Syria and defence cooperation. On February, 16th president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey might conduct a joint military operation with Russia in Syrian Idlib and also confirmed that the S-400 deal with Moscow was final. The USA warned Turkey that if it purchased S-400 it would lose the opportunity to buy the American “Patriot” weapon systems, however Ankara was not deterred by that. Dr. Umit Alperen, researcher at the Department of International Relations in Suleyman Demirel University told “Eurasia.Expert” about the relations between Moscow and Ankara, the possibility of Turkey joining Eurasian Union and buying Russian and American weapons.

- Mr. Alperen, on February 14th, at a tripartite meeting in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joint steps towards the long-term normalization of the situation in Syria. How do you evaluate the negotiations? What did you manage to agree on? What issues did the parties discuss?

At the Sochi summit, the issues discussed by the president of the three countries are the normalization of life in Syria. On this basis, it is primarily the preservation of the ongoing non-conflict regime in Syria. In this context, it is the reduction of tension in Idlib and the fight against Al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). Most importantly, it was discussed the topic that the Constitutional Committee, which would shape post-war Syria, would start working in a short period. At the same time, I should emphasize all three countries defend the territorial integrity of Syria. Territorial integrity of Syria is the most critical common interest of Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

When we generally look at Syria policy of these three country in Sochi Summit, Russia, Turkey, and Iran have agreed in principle on issues discussed, but the problem is emerging on how the problem should be resolved.

For example, Turkey saying Assad must go, Russia and Iran oppose it. Turkey's priority is YPG / PYD and East part of the Euphrates river, but Russia's priority is Idlib. YPG is included in the policy of the Russian Constitution through negotiation committee, but Turkey opposes YPG-linked organization's influence on the future constitution of Syria. And, in the east of the Euphrates, the approach of the three countries is different. All three states respect Syria's territorial integrity, while it is unclear how the US will follow a policy in the east of the Euphrates, controlled by the YPG.

It would be optimistic to expect problems to be solved in the short term. But the normalization process is vital and could be considered the first important step for the end of the Syrian civil war after eight years. In the next process, the following steps will end the war. It's always better to fight at the diplomacy table than fight with a gun. Erdoğan's statement that a joint operation with Russia can be done in Idlib is an important step in this respect on February 16th. It also shows that at the Sochi Summit, Turkish-Russian rapprochement agreement reached. This also shows us that Russia agreed to Turkey's limited operations in Syria against YPG in Northern Syria. Turkish military operation on Northern Syria is essential to keep the territorial integrity of Syria.

- In December 2017, Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the supply of anti-aircraft missile systems. According to the agreement, Ankara will receive four C-400 divisions in the amount of $ 2.5 billion. Russia will deliver S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey by the fall of this year. The United States is putting pressure on Turkey. Can you say what challenges Russia and Turkey may face after this deal?

To tell the truth, I would like to keep my reservation on the delivery of the S400 missile system to Turkey. On Feb 16th, President Erdogan said that in this year mid-July, S400 missile systems would be delivered. Although both sides express their satisfaction from that agreement, I think uncertainty on the S400 will continue until placed in Turkey.

 Russia would like to sell S400 to Turkey that NATO member and one of the most powerful armies in the world, 7th in the world ranking. As you know, there is serious reservation for S400 from NATO and the US. Especially if this country is in the middle of the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

Turkey is developing her defense industry, diversifying her defense resources countries decreasing dependence on the defense industry from the US. But the US would like to keep Turkish yoke because Turkey as a regional power is a much more important and powerful actor in its region that could game changer power.

- Some turkey experts say that the US is using negotiations with Turkey on the Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems to postpone Ankara’s military operation in Syria, and not to cancel the conclusion of the Russian-Turkish agreement on the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. What do you think about it? And do you think Turkey will buy the Patriots?

- A few days ago, President Erdogan said that Turkey will not turn back from its deal to buy S400 systems from Russia and its open to purchasing Patriot systems from the US. Under this condition, Turkey has become the market of the US. Joint production loans and early delivery is the most critical factor for Turkey. In this context, the US administration is looking forward to the delivery of the Patriot Missiles, but the US does not approach to joint production and credit issues. The US also has expectations that Turkey should give up to buy Russian S400.

Moreover, the United States uses subjects like Patriot as a pressure tool.

In these circumstances, it seems difficult to take Turkey for Patriot. Besides, Turkey has more than enough experience of damage to lean to one side on issues such as in the past years.

Before Patriot's problem in the US-Turkey relations, there is YPG problem in Syria. On Feb 16th, Erdogan stated that both S-400 would be delivered in July and the joint operation with Russia could be made in Idlib. These statements of Erdogan are important as an answer to this question. In the present circumstances, the clues show us that Turkey-Russia rapprochement and partnership has been gaining momentum.

- Russia and Iran, trapped in the regular sanctions list of Washington as allies of Syria, are ready to finally close the door to the dollar. As the Russian ambassador in Tehran said, the US currency will not be used in mutual settlements anymore. Only the ruble and the rial, in extreme cases - the euro. Iran and Russia have abandoned the dollar. Will Turkey refuse the dollar? Is US currency used in trade transactions between Russia and Turkey?

- Iran's situation is very different from Turkey. Due to the US embargo, international sanctions Iran is restricted to entering the world financial and trade system. Bu Turkey is fully integrated with both global political and economic system. So Turkey-Iran comparisons can mislead us look to Turkey via Iran.

Turkey also favors the use of local currencies in trade relations and is followed policies in this direction. But no country can entirely exclude the US currency from its financial system.

Admittedly, the world financial system is mostly based on the US dollar and partly in the euro.

- Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union practically agreed to create a free trade zone. Now the relevant agreement is in the Iranian parliament. How do you assess the prospects of signing a similar agreement with Turkey? What are Turkey's intentions on this issue? Are there any negotiations on this issue? And what will the signing of the agreement on creating a free trade zone for Turkey and its economy give?

- Turkey was invited to join EEU by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev on June 2014. Since Nazarbayev’s invitation, there is not much more process, because of EEU is in a shaping/building process, Turkey’s its own binds etc.

Although Turkey would like to develop its relations with EEU and also willing to do more, there are some problems with cooperation.

First of all, the presence of Armenia in the current chairmanship of the EEU (Tigran Sargsyan) is causing the freezing of the Turkey-EEU relations. Nagorno-Karabakh which occupies by EEU member Armenia, because of Armenia's occupation, Azerbaijan is not willing to be a member of the EEU. However, Azerbaijan's sensitivities and national interest are important for Turkey. So, the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia and Azerbaijan's approach are blocking Turkey's membership.

On the other hand, Turkey has close relations with the EU. EEU's supra-national structures such as the EU Customs Union and single economic space of the goals is also important how it will affect Turkey's relations with the EU as economically and politically. Turkey is trying to be a full member of the EU. We do not yet know the EEU very well.

To be a part of the Customs Union with the EU of Turkey also have been affecting membership to the EEU. There are also some facts, such as more than 50% of Turkish total foreign trade is with EU members.

Turkey's possible to join the EEU, a bit also depending on the Trans-Atlantic relations.

We must remember that Turkey is still a member of NATO. Therefore, Turkey is not able to get in the short term from the Western axis. European Union countries have a 50 percent share in Turkey's trade volume. In Turkey-Russia economic relations unfavorable trade balance against Turkey. If Turkey to be a member of the EEU, how the membership will affect Turkey's interests, that should be considered its costs carefully.

- Recently, Turkey has also been paying a lot of attention to the creation of air defense and missile defense. Recently, President Lukashenko met with the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Turkey Hulusi Akar. What might interest Turkey, in your opinion?

Turkey has been following defense diplomacy that on diversification of defense cooperation with all countries in a balanced manner and sustainable. As with Belarus, there is close cooperation with Ukraine on the defense industry. Turkey, as a NATO member can develop close collaboration in the defense field with an ally of Russia is positive for both Russia and the West. I hope this kind of cooperation in our region will serve regional peace.

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