The Underlying Reasons For Turkey's Disengagement From The US

Authored by Dmitiry Minin via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Turkish media is reporting that a staffer at the American consulate general in Istanbul was recently arrested under the serious charge of attempting the “destruction of the constitutional order,” “espionage,” and seeking “to overthrow the government.”

To be specific, ties have been uncovered between the man under arrest and some prominent members of Fethullah Gülen’s movement (FETÖ), which is banned in Turkey. Previous accusations had been made against General Joseph Votel, the commander of US CENTCOM and an expert in covert operations, alleging that he had cooperated with the conspirators who attempted a military coup in Turkey in July 2016.

And this is only the tip of a very cold and growing iceberg that has gradually been disrupting the relationship between these formerly close allies - the US and Turkey. Not even President Erdo?an’s visit to the US this year could buck these trends.

Observing that relations between the two countries have been deteriorating for more than a decade, US columnists, for example - Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner - reflexively sum it all up as evidence of the deleterious influence of Vladimir Putin. In his assessment of the most recent meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents in Ankara, that journalist points to the fact that Recep Erdo?an called Vladimir Putin “my dear friend” and even “stroked his ego” by speaking to him - horror of horrors! - “in Russian,” as though that were a crime.

CNBC also notes that Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Vladimir Putin “share a general suspicion and mistrust of the US.”

It seems, however, that the reasons for Turkey’s growing frustration with its efforts to cooperate with its Western partners, including the United States, run deeper.

 According to the Huffington Post, Ankara realized several years ago that neither the US nor influential NATO members such as Germany, France, and Britain take Turkey’s security concerns or economic interests seriously. As a result, Ankara decided to go it alone and began “wooing” Russia militarily and Iran economically.

The joint study produced not so long ago by the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Center for Strategic Research and America’s CSIS, which reviews relations between Ankara and Washington, did not anticipate anything of this nature. The “Arab Spring” had just begun, and few people correctly surmised how that would unfold. Moreover, the study proclaimed that the two countries’ “partnership has recently been enhanced by overlapping perspectives on the unprecedented transformation sweeping the Middle East.” But nothing quite worked out that way.

At that time the foundations for the strategic alliance between the US and Turkey were seen as: close cooperation on issues related to the “Arab spring”; a Turkish role in the NATO mission in Afghanistan; Turkey’s decision to join the NATO missile-defense program; and American assistance with Turkey’s military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

All these elements of their “bilateral rapport” have now turned into factors of their alienation. For example, the Turkish government considers the US government to be fully to blame for the failure of the “Arab spring,” a stance that it takes, apparently, in part in order to sidestep criticism from its own citizens. In any event, there is now no serious cooperation between Ankara and Washington to speak of. Each acts at its own risk and peril. Turkey’s presence in Afghanistan was long ago reduced to a purely symbolic role. And Turkey’s potential purchase of the Russian S-400 system is indicative of more than merely Ankara’s shift toward non-NATO weapons - it is a consequence of the country’s de facto refusal to participate in the NATO program to create a joint missile-defense shield. The S-400 is a missile interceptor that is quite powerful enough to allow Turkey to autonomously defend its own territory.

And there’s a good reason this deal is so irritating to Washington and Brussels. Due to the oscillations of American policy in Syria, the local branch of the PKK - the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) - has suddenly become the US administration’s main bedrock of support there. And this is perhaps the biggest irritant for the Turks. Suffice it to say that the Americans failed to meet their obligation to move the Kurds east of the Euphrates River and out of Manbij and Tabqa. The promise they made to Ankara to disarm the Kurds after the defeat of IS has also been unabashedly left hanging. The Turks deeply dislike being deceived. There is an ever-growing possibility that the US and Turkey, which are “NATO allies,” will become embroiled in an indirect armed conflict (!) through their “proxies” from the pro-Turkish FSA and the pro-American SDF.

Surveys conducted in Turkey by the American Pew Research Center show that 72% of Turks consider the US to be a threat to their country’s security. This is a world record, hands down. Few in Turkey were swayed by Washington’s refusal to formally support the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. They don’t think that the Iraqi Kurds would have risked a referendum at all without the Americans’ tacit consent. It is noteworthy that not only Erdo?an, but also pro-opposition Turkish nationalists are highly critical of the US Kurdish policy. They believe that by flirting with the Kurds, Washington is pursuing a long-term strategy to create a “second Israel” in the Middle East. They are particularly irritated by the inclusion of oil-rich Kirkuk - which they traditionally view as a Turkmen city - within the zone of the referendum.

One might ask: how enduring are these changes that have been seen in the relationship between the two countries and in the sentiments of the Turkish public? Might they be scrapped once the next generation of politicians gets into office? But it appears rather to be a manifestation of deep-seated patterns of behavior.

The post-war threats to Turkey’s security that at one time prompted its close integration with Western institutions, including NATO, simply do not exist today. And they are unlikely to reemerge.

The real dangers for Turkey all come from a completely different direction - the Middle East. And to a large extent those dangers can be blamed on the actions of Ankara’s Western allies, who, instead of providing security, have become agents of destabilization. Perhaps the discussion today should be more about finding protection from them, not about joint-defense operations with them.

In addition, by abandoning its dream once and for all of joining the European Union - and that issue can be seen as settled, once and for all, on both sides - Turkey must obviously give some thought to its dependence on NATO. Although there is not yet any talk of Ankara’s pulling out of that institution, it is clearly inevitable that Turkey will reject some of the restrictive commitments and rules mandated by the North Atlantic alliance. Those might chiefly involve decisions to use military force that is unsanctioned by NATO. Erdo?an set out to entirely eliminate Turkey’s dependence on defense imports - which includes the goal of launching his country’s own aircraft carrier - by 2023, when Turkey will celebrate the centennial of the founding of its republic.

It’s no secret to anyone that nowadays NATO positions itself as a kind of “introductory class” to prep countries on their path to EU membership. All of Eastern Europe, for example, was forced to pass through this purgatory. It’s no surprise that Austria, Finland, and Sweden, which were early joiners to the European Union, aren’t seriously contemplating becoming NATO members, despite the discussions on this topic that are constantly forced upon them. And as far as Turkey is concerned, without the prospect of joining the EU, that alliance has become too cumbersome and useless.

From the standpoint of Turkey’s real interests, gradual rapprochement with its regional neighbors - Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia, as well as with global unions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - may be more promising. Although some might currently view this drift as a mere episode, it is in fact quite a logical development, based on objective criteria and which may well prove to be long-term.


2banana Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:30 Permalink

America supports an independent Kurd homeland with arms and a no fly zone.  Turkey is cut in half.Incirlik AFB is closed but a new base is established in Kurd territory.The Turks are given notice to end their illegal military occupation of Northern Cypress. A navel blockade goes into effect.Turkey is given notice to pay for their genocide against Armenians and Greeks. Seized assets are to be turned back to their owners or extended families.Your move...

BobEore 07564111 Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:03 Permalink

Typical zheeple sockpuppet snark/non-rebuttal. Get lost dope.For the adult component of the audience... let's move on. To dissecting this latest piece of tripe... .

"Surveys conducted in Turkey by the American Pew Research Center show that 72% of Turks consider the US to be a threat to their country’s security. This is a world record, hands down."

Indeed - it may be... but what it is for sure a reflection of is THE COMPLETE CLOSURE of all pretence to a free press, social discourse, & the most basic civil liberties.... all ELIMINATED in the wake of the Sraeli-Russo engineered PHONY COUP of July 2016... Turks are now - sadly - amongst the most brainwashed people on this planet... unhinged by a talmudist run program of ethno-religious supremacism, divided and isolated by their own 'government' misinformed as to all outside developments...but hey! Let's not talk bout that stuff!

"the local branch of the PKK - the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) - has suddenly become the US administration’s main bedrock of support"

Typical regime agit-prop spewed to defeat the legitimated aspirations of Kurds in Northern Syria to get free from the grasp of STATES OF ALL DESCRIPTION... in order to run a multi-ethnic and secular experiment in pluralism - a threat to all STATIST APOLOGISTS

"From the standpoint of Turkey’s real interests, gradual rapprochement with its regional neighbors - Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia, as well as with global unions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization"...

HA HA HA!... from the standpoint of Turkiyes' real interests... gradual estrangement from its' pseudo-islamist jihadi regime, and the talmudists from tel aviv who own it... would be the preferred course of action. But that's not likely to happen any time soon... because dissimulationt exceptionalists need to use Turks & Turkiye... as a key part of their scheme to bring down the west... and set up their new jerusalem based pirate empire to replace a dying USA!

In reply to by 07564111

BennyBoy BobEore Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:22 Permalink

 After the failure of US created ISIS, US needed new puppet: PKK.Kurdistan claims over oil fields will now expand to try and block Iran/Russia pipeline. The phony US created Syria civil war was about getting the Saudi pipeline thru Aleppo and that failed.Many more people to die for pipelines cause oil companies don't want to pay fees to countries where the oil comes from. Free shit is better and millions gotta die, so be it.Aren't pipelines fun?

In reply to by BobEore

BobEore BennyBoy Fri, 10/13/2017 - 06:46 Permalink

Mindless agit-prop, spewed from the pens of those who know as little about the muddled east as occidental exceptionalists know about N Korea... or the dark side of the moon. Since Genel(Sraeli/Rottieschield play)and Rosneft(Russian state capitalist play)are now the TWO BIGGEST PETRO companies in the area of northern Iraq...and the "phony Sraeli created Syrian war was all about getting Syrias' petro shut down... in favor of their own play - now in full progress, as a joint Moscow/telaviv/tehran venture. yur bogus precis and accompanying histrionics are toast ghost.

In reply to by BennyBoy

OliverAnd researchfix Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:02 Permalink

With the mentality going around in Asia (not only Middle East) the chances of peace is slim.  Its hard to trade a commodity when the buyer has no money and no assets for a loan.  Banks whether in China, Russia, US, EU are all controlled by the usual people who happen to be mostly Anglo-Saxon.  If you bothered to have thought your idea through you would have noticed that all these nations in Asia, including China are striving to become more 'American" than 'Chinese'. Their will is to make infrastructure similar to what has been the case in the US for decades; to make their lives as good as those lives of citizens living in the US.  The ideal global way of life is essentially the American way of life. Don't misunderstand me, America is not perfect but their imperfections are more substantial.  China's biggest problem in the near future is its political system; it will crash and along with it we may hear of areas becoming autonomous. The future of China is not as bright as many believe.  Historically China has quickly appeared in the international scene, and just as quickly disappeared for hundreds of years.

In reply to by researchfix

I Feel a littl… 2banana Fri, 10/13/2017 - 15:01 Permalink

Easy, America is fucked and worthless since the dollar is toilet paper and no one gives a flying fuck who they support.They won't be 'giving notice' to anyone, they can just fuck off.As for blockading your navel, well each to his own.How about the US is given notice to pay for their genocide of North American Indians which still continues TO THIS DAY? How about that fuckstick?

In reply to by 2banana

Fireman Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:32 Permalink

Watching the limp USSAN appendage in the EUSSR, the North Amerikan Terror Organ, aka NATO, go flaccid is just another sign that USSA'S days of global slaughter on petroscrip credit are over. When a Third World slum like Turkey turns away from the Harvey Winestain nation then you know it's time to get out of Slumville.

OliverAnd Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:47 Permalink

I don't know what this journalist is on, but Turkey has not ever participated or acted in a responsible way as part of NATO.  Did they not invade Cyprus in 1974, a NATO nation????  Are they not everyday illegally entering Greek airspace and Greek territorial waters????  Did they not side with the NAZI's during WWI?  Did they not postpone declaring their alliance during WWII until it was clear who would win while simulaneously helping to strengthen the NAZI forces in the Balkans???  A parasitic bunch of people that if Putin fails to recognize will result in his end.  I wonder how the Christian Russian soldiers feel surounded by Iranian and Turkish radicals... 

07564111 OliverAnd Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:02 Permalink

You'll note that when Turkey invade Cyprus that NATO did SFA. NATO could do SFA then, and they can do SFA about Turkey now...and...Russia gets along with Iran just fine, Turkey is another matter of course, but, when confronting a common enemy ( Israel scum and US scum ) you accept help when offered.

In reply to by OliverAnd

OliverAnd 07564111 Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:20 Permalink

I think the biggest weakness in Russia's allies is Turkey by far.  Culturally and more importantly in a parasitic manner when the Turks could they always caused destruction to Russia and Europe as a whole.  People believe that the Turks are from the area they currently occupy.  That is completely wrong.  The Turk people are from around Azerbaijan area; many Turks live in Iran as well.  We are all way too young to remember the Ottomans, but we can remember the Muslim Chechens and the havoc they unleashed on the Russian people.  If you cannot remember them then simply remember that in Crimea the most opposing group were the Turks(Crimean Tatars); even more so than the Ukrainians of which many Ukrainians were in favor of becoming a part of Russia.  Do you think the US stopped accepting Turkish citizens for two embassy employees that were Turks?  No.  They are scared that Turkey will allow certain members of Al Qaeda to step on US soil...  The 100 soldiers are being flanked by a branch of Al Qaeda members...

In reply to by 07564111

avenriv OliverAnd Fri, 10/13/2017 - 07:21 Permalink

very interesting, the NAZI fought in WWI ! Were greek forces allowed to retreat through turkey when germany totaly destroyed the greeks ? did you see what forces russian has in syria ? chechens...i think it hurts when you see the Hagia Sophia transformed into a mosque but that is whose fault ? who destroyed the bizantin empire ? who raped and pillaged the gold and treasures of the byzantine empire ? 

In reply to by OliverAnd

2banana rybo1 Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:34 Permalink

“People don’t remember, but when I came into office, the Untied States in world opinion ranked below China and just barely above Russia, and today once again, the Untied States is the most respected country on earth. Part of that I think is because of the work we did to reengage the world and say we want to work with you as partners with mutual interests and mutual respect. It was on that basis we were able to end two wars while still focusing on the very real threat of terrorism and try to work with our partners in Iraq and Afghanistan.”-- obama, June 1st, 2015

In reply to by rybo1

WTFUD 2banana Fri, 10/13/2017 - 06:37 Permalink

Yeah on Barry's first EU visit he went Walkabout among the adoring throng of Sheep, his 2nd was a closed stadium filled with handpicked Elites still gnawing on his bone. By the 3rd however, the EU Potemkin Village cordoned off 5 square miles from a baying crowd chanting 'Yes we Scan' among other pleasantries.

In reply to by 2banana

Scar Bro 2banana Fri, 10/13/2017 - 22:19 Permalink

But now Russia doesnt need war (with a NATO nation) to keep the Bosphorous open. And theyve put into motion Turkey's eventual withdrawal from NATO. My enemy is not only now my enemy's enemy, but also a slut I can fuck anytime. Russia will never forget the Americans and British reneged on the deal to give them Constantinople after ww1. They will reclaim their religious capital one day.

In reply to by 2banana

Scar Bro Joe A Fri, 10/13/2017 - 22:41 Permalink

Wow. You think Russia will nuke a land so close to them? You think they'll nuke the Hagia Sophia? The original church of Orthodox Christianity? The historical city of Constantine? Where Christianity was effectively founded? Which was the centre of Christianity before it was sacked by the Crusaders allowing the Muslims to conquer it? More important to Christianity than Rome? I guess the words "when I look in the mirror" didn't fit in your avatar.

In reply to by Joe A

AurorusBorealus Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:47 Permalink

This article is spot on.  However, the question arises.  Does not everything that Minin states about Turkey's interests shifting toward Russia also apply to Europe?  The real danger to Europe today is not the Soviet Union.  The real danger is from the Middle East and northern Africa: regions destabilized by the U.S..  The destruction of order in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere have opened Europe to hundreds of thousands of refugees who are now raping their way across the West, bombing and shooting as they go.  Moreover, U.S. support for Wahabbi terrorists is causing casualties around the world: even so far as the deserts of Nevada.The question is not will Turkey leave NATO.  The question is: what is the point of NATO? NATO actions are destroying Europe and causing 600 casualties in Las Vegas.  NATO is no longer a defense treaty.  It has become a U.S. attempt to chain the whole of the West to the devil's bargain that the U.S. has made with Saudi Arabia to sustain the petrodollar. The world will not be distracted much longer by Trump Nero's temper tantrums.  North Korea and Iran are no threat to Europe, and everyone in Europe knows it.  The real threat to Europe is further destabilization of the Middle East and North Africa, and European governments must begin to pivot to address the growing threat or their people will overthrow their governments and the EU.  Merkel holds power by a thread, and that thread, along with dollar infusions into the ECB, are the only ties that bind Europe to the U.S. .  NATO is doomed.

Joe A Fri, 10/13/2017 - 05:51 Permalink

Pyat, US ambassador to Greece and previously to Ukraine (famous for that F the EU phone call with Nuland) recently said in an interview in Greece that he would like to see Turkey getting closer to Europe (although most European countries don't want that). He also said that the US is going to invest in Greece for gas pipelines (for gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey) and for a LNG facility in Greece for US gas.Turkey is just playing games. They can get gas from any supplier (Russia, Azerbaijan, others) and route that to Europe. They know that the US wants that to be non-Russian gas. Turkey is just trying to see from whom they can get the biggest advantage. Of course, it would all end if Europe finds alternative routes for Russian gas but that won't go down well with the US. Gas is a weapon here.