11 December 2019

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What will be the future of world politics amid the unprecedented crisis in US-Turkish relations?

Author:

15.11.2019

The visit of the Turkish president to Washington was in limbo until the last moment. Despite an invitation from Donald Trump to hold a face-to-face meeting at the White House, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a number of arguments to refuse, the most serious of them being the adoption of two anti-Turkish resolutions by the House of Representatives just before the visit. The first resolution introduced a new package of sanctions against the Turkish financial system. The second one recognised the notorious "Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire."

 

Jealous America

Undoubtedly, both resolutions of the Congress are nothing but 'punishment' imposed on Turkey for its independent policy, especially in the Middle East. Indeed, the plans to divide Syria largely failed due to the efforts of Ankara, which prevented the creation of a Kurdish state in the north of Syria, which would otherwise threaten the security and territorial integrity of Turkey. on the other hand, Ankara's successful "Syrian" policies in close cooperation with Moscow and Tehran was met with widespread outrage in the US, since Iran, Russia and Turkey claim the role of guarantors of political settlement of the Syrian conflict within the framework of the Astana negotiation format.

Apparently, American strategists finally lost their temper with the conclusion of the Russian-Turkish memorandum on Syria. This document completely frustrated the aspirations of the West, especially the US, for the destruction of Syrian statehood and the creation of a puppet Kurdish formation in the region, which would be the obedient agent of American plans. Apparently, the ultimate idea behind Washington's strategic plan was to significantly weaken Turkey as a regional power and withdraw Russia and Iran from the Middle East as the most influential actors in the region.

Turkey had actively tried to achieve the withdrawal of Kurdish terrorist groups, which enjoy the full support of Washington, through agreements with the US. However, Americans had failed to fulfil their obligations, which Ankara used as a reason to conduct an independent military operation Peace Spring to neutralise Kurdish terrorists and create conditions for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. Then Turkey reached an agreement with Russia, which made it possible both to suspend Ankara's military operation and to begin the process of real withdrawal of Kurdish forces and the creation of a security zone in northern Syria.

In other words, despite certain differences in approaches to the tactical aspects of the Syrian settlement, Moscow and Ankara had demonstrated an ability to reach and, most importantly, realise these agreements. Joint actions of Russia and Turkey warrant the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, which does not fit into the policy of restructuring the entire Middle East implemented by Western strategists in the interests of the United States and its regional allies.

Meanwhile, active military-technical cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, including the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, is another serious factor of Washington's discontent. The US makes it clear that it is seriously dissatisfied with President Erdogan's policies, hinting that the establishment of bilateral relations is possible only if Ankara stops the strategic military-technical cooperation with Moscow. According to American media, in order to overcome the crisis, Trump even offered Erdogan a $100-billion trade deal and promised to lift anti-Turkish sanctions in exchange for Ankara's decision to refuse the S-400s. However, before the visit to the United States, President Erdogan explicitly hinted that the Trump deal did not suit him, since Turkey did not buy the Russian air defence systems to refuse them later.

 

Armenian card

The resolution on the recognition of the "Armenian genocide" shows that the US and the West use the "Armenian issue" exclusively as a tool of pressure on Turkey. It also shows that the American congressmen do not care of any values, such as historical truth and justice.

It is clear that the resolution was adopted based on a domestic political aspect of the issue. Although it was supported by some of the Republican congressmen, it is still difficult to refrain from stating that the resolution became part of the Democratic campaign against the Trump administration, which in principle is not interested in further deterioration of relations with Turkey (in fact, Trump's readiness to offer a generous deal to Ankara also points to this fact). However, the adoption of the resolution on genocide by the House of Representatives now is by no means accidental.

Part of the American political elite known for pro-Armenian sympathies has long intended to recognise the "Armenian genocide" to the detriment of Turkish interests and historical truth. However, it was possible to advance this plan if the pro-Armenian resolution could not significantly harm the relations between Washington and Ankara because they had been ruined anyway. It means that the "genocide resolution" would never have surfaced if there had been no crisis in the US-Turkish relations, which only underlines its clear political motive.

Apparently, the Armenian diaspora are not shy of using "genocide" as a means of pressure on Turkey and turning it into a bargain between the West and Turkey. Thus, the Armenian organisations in the US, particularly the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America, admit that they had mobilised activists across the country, participated in drafting the document, "worked for a long time with congressmen" and " visited practically all the offices on the Capitol Hill" in order to make the resolution adopted. As a result, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the adoption of the resolution, and the Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed gratitude to the members of the US House of Representatives "for decisiveness in voting on resolution No. 296".

What will the anti-Turkish resolution of American lawmakers bring Armenia? Armenia, which continues the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and committed the real, not fictional, genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly, will get nothing from the anti-Turkish games of American and Western politicians. The resolution on the fictional "Armenian genocide" will only make it impossible for Yerevan to establish relations with its Turkic neighbours. This deprives Armenia of any prospects for full development, given that Turkey under no circumstances will back down to "actions of American retaliation."

 

Relentless Ankara

President Erdogan has clearly rejected any possibility of Turkey moving back under American pressure. Even before his visit to the US, he said that "the countries who have stains of genocide, slavery, colonialism in their history have no right to give lessons to Turkey."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also condemned the US resolution calling it a "mistake", "a document devoid of a historical and legal basis." "Those whose projects were frustrated turn to antiquated resolutions. Circles believing that they will take revenge this way are mistaken," Cavusoglu added.

Mr. Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, called the resolution as "one of the shameful examples of the politicisation of history." He said that the US should "look first at its own history, at the bloody past of the American-backed terrorist organisations Kurdistan Workers Party and ASALA."

Will Ankara take political decisions in response to the anti-Turkish steps of the US government that can further worsen relations with Washington? This will become clear after Erdogan's visit to the United States and his meeting with Donald Trump.

We can only assume that if the US further tightens its policy towards Turkey, the future of the American airbase in Turkey (Incirlik) will be in doubt. Turkey's membership in NATO can also suffer serious damage in the light of the following statement of the Turkish Foreign Ministry regarding Washington's sanctions against Ankara: "incompatible with the spirit of the alliance."

As a member state of NATO, Turkey does not intend (at least for now) to withdraw from the alliance with the US. For example, President of Turkey, despite the whole set of constraints, agreed to visit the United States and hold talks with his American counterpart.



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