Rasoul Alipour told the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations that during the Trump administration, Turkey experienced several serious crises in relations with the United States such as the purchase of S400 missile defense system from Russia in which Ankara was punished by symbolic US sanctions.
Referring to the current tensions between Turkey and the United States, Alipour said Trump got along with Erdogan and chose to impose the weakest of sanctions in relation with Turkey.
Tensions between Turkey and the United States during Trump administration
Asked about the intensification of tensions between Turkey and the US during the Trump administration, he said Turkey was never officially pulled out of the F35 production project as promised by Trump.
“Turkey had committed to buying 100 F35 fighter jets from the United States. Actually six such jets were being used by Turkish pilots in the American soil for training purposes. However, despite the fact that Turkey was producing some parts of F35, they were never delivered to Turkey because of the purchase of S400 missile defense system from Russia. The United States is still calling on Turkey to stop the purchase of S400 system”.
Referring to the issue of Syria and the support provided by the US to the armed Kurds in the north east of Syria, Alipour said even though Trump gave supports to this group and other groups considered as serious threat to the national security of Turkey, it seems that with Joe Biden in the White House, such measures will be strengthened and more US support will be provided to the armed Kurds in the border with Turkey.
Referring to the agents of CIA and the role they played in the botched 2016 coup against Erdogan and the presence of Fathollah Gulen the leader of coup in the United States, he said during the Trump administration, we witnessed a gap between the US and its traditional allies.
“This issue in the relations between Turkey and the United States was finally to the benefit of Turkey as the European allies of the US had differences with Trump policies and performance. Therefore, such European allies did not adopt a united stance against Turkey. The lack of unity among them was a window of opportunity for Turkey to remain free of double pressures.”
Turkey afraid of reviving traditional unity between the US and its Western allies
This expert of Turkey relations said Ankara believes that the revival of the traditional alliance of the US with its Western partners would result in heightened pressure on Turkey through confronting the military presence of Turkey in various parts of the world such as Libya and disputed presence in the Mediterranean Sea.
“That’s why Turkey needs to move towards regional convergence in order to reduce pressures by the Biden administration in future. Turkey, in this respect, has made efforts to resume its diplomatic relations with Egypt after eight years of severance of ties.”
Alipour added that the resumption of relations and their improvement can help Turkey in its future disputes in the Mediterranean as Turkey is seriously worried that the US would turn against it in the future in this part of the world. That’s why it is trying to be involved in coalitions and reduce pressures.
Turkey’s efforts to improve relations with Israel in order to reduce US pressures
“Another measure by Turkey is its efforts to revive relations with Israel. Erdogan said earlier that it is ready to improve political relations with the Israeli regime. He hoped that Israel would be also ready for the resumption of such relations which had not been cut in the commercial and economic sectors.”
He said Erdogan’s remarks were a message he wanted to send to all the other parties, adding that “Turkey need to publicize this under the present circumstances while the public opinion in Turkey are aware that Israel has intensified its crimes and oppression against the Palestinians in recent years and figures suggest that the majority of the people in Turkey consider Israel as their main enemy. Under these conditions, no leader could accept the risk of making such statements unless there is a policy behind”.
He added that Erdogan finally tried to ease the public opinion in his country towards such remarks and said he has set several conditions for Israel to resume diplomatic relations and Israel needs to end its crimes against Palestinians. Erdogan tried to prevent probable domestic protests but in fact, his remarks were a message to Israel and the West that Turkey is able to change the game and adopt policies swiftly in line with the requirements of the time.
According to Alipour, Turkey wants to use the Zionism lobby in the United States to help reduce probable pressures and sanctions to be imposed by the Biden administration in the future and use it as a tool to control and maintain relations with the United States.
Referring to the Biden recognition of the Armenian genocide, he said “the US president, after many years, has preferred to use the word “genocide” with reference to the developments of the 1915 during the First World War. Even though this word would not entail any international punishment on Turkey however in action, it would increase pressure on Turkey so as to control Ankara’s adoption of policies independent of the US and the West and disallow Ankara to move out of the boundaries drawn for it by the US and the West”.
Biden’s period and increase of pressure on Turkey
Referring to threats vowed by Turkey against the US in the coming months, Alipour said it seems that the Biden administration is going to intensify pressures on the Turkish government within the next four years so that Turkey cannot adopt policies independent from NATO and the US frameworks.
Alipour referred to the remarkable reduction in the value of Turkish Lira as the result of rising tension between the US and Turkey, adding that Turkey as a country with an open economy which is dependent on foreign investment would be so much affected by these pressures.