The International Law Dimension of the Turkish-US Crisis and the Relevant ANKASAM Report

Despondency in Turkish-US relations is intensifying each passing day. Hence, the course and result of this quandary is a matter of curiosity, since the outcome carry great importance for both of countries as well as Turkey’s surrounding and the whole world.

As indicated hitherto, Turkey has the capacity to determine the epithet and mode of the “New Yalta Process” or the “New World Order”. Therefore, the impasse between Turkey and the United States of America is a battle to compose the next fifty years or maybe the century. Thus, the geographical and strategic importance of Turkey, its effective/motivator role in the Turkic-Islamic world and war power capacity should not be neglected.

Per contra, the United States has tested this prominence through its invasion of Afghanistan and occupation initiatives in Syria and Iraq. The conclusion was; an operation without Turkey’s involvement is destined to fail in the medium-long term! The United States can indeed overrun its opponents; however, the accompanying costs are very high. For instance; the United States indicated that their failure and rising costs in Iraq between 2003-2008 was due to Turkey.

On the other hand, there are occasions of occupation which the United States made a hash of it. For instance, the United States began to lose ground in Syria after it preferred the PYG-YPG/PKK terrorist organisation as an “ally”. Furthermore, this development galvanised the foundation of a regional pact. The “Turkish-Russian-Iranian” triad which was being floated since 2002 became a reality.

In the case of Afghanistan, the United States which was unable to freely roam in the country resorted to dressing military vehicles and soldiers with Turkish flags as a solution and since 2010 has been pressuring Ankara to join the fight on its behalf.

The current docket of the United States is Iran and the path to success transcends through Turkey. For this reason, Turkey in some way needs to be persuaded. However, Turkey, as stated in ANKASAM’s latest report, is aware of the fact that it is next in line, hence is rejecting “illegitimate proposals” in spite of being treated “inimically”.

The ANKASAM Report

To date, the international legal dimension of the crisis between Turkey and the United States hasn’t been addressed much. Whereas, it is of utmost importance to scrutinise US sanction policies and their methods of enforcement on the whole world through national laws, as well as, the response of concerned states. Such a review will surely embed the legal status of the US as a “rogue state”.

In this context, the report; “Evaluation of US Sanctions Against Turkey within the Context of International Law” penned by Olimjon SOBIR and published by Ankara Centre for Crisis and Policy Research a few days ago include key findings regarding the issue.

Moreover, the report indicates that; the US is recoursing to the “Russian Model” in its sanction decision. The report also touches upon this model and in this context discusses the antiphon of Russia and other nations which sustain US sanction.

The findings of the report can be briefly listed as follows:

  • US efforts to accord cross-border legibility to its domestic lexicon is a lasting phenomenon in international relations. Pursuant thereto, the national decree of the state is being unilaterally implemented upon the global public. In other words, the imperialist mentality of the United States is being supported by national laws.
  • The sanctions against Turkey are arbitrary and serve political purposes rather than being in line with “the maintenance or re-establishment of international peace and security” as per the United Nations Charter. Furthermore, this decision can be regarded as intervening to a judgement made by a sovereign state.
  • The argument put forth by the United States that the pastor Brunson case violates human rights is baseless and is considered as meddling with the internal affairs of a country.
  • There are numerous expressions which state that the US will not limit its sanctions to just two ministers and will take extra decisions to curb Turkey’s 2023 targets. From this context, it can be argued that the crisis does only consist of pastor Brunson. In fact, the US is targeting Turkey’s macro projects that grant Ankara effectiveness both regionally and globally.
  • It can be said that the sanction decision based on Presidential Decree No: 13818 is a sub-event in the escalating conflict between the two parties.
  • The Global Magnitsky Act, which administers the legal provision for the sanctions against Turkey has been applied, for the first time to non-Russian citizens and a NATO ally.
  • Trump has been caught between “making concessions with” or “oppressing” Ankara and seems to have chosen the latter.
  • It is clear that the crisis, which was initially assessed as conjunctural, is of a structural nature and is sure to cause radical changes.
  • Although, the US sanctions are directed to economically confine Turkey, contrary to popular belief Washington might be the one isolated via diplomatic
  • Characterising the sanctions as “hostile action” and forming a public opinion will be an influential step.
  • When Turkish-US relations are thoroughly analysed, it could be said that the decision to sanction the relevant minister can be interpreted as mounting an attack on Ankara. Therefore, it is possible to stipulate that bilateral relations are to worsen. In fact, statements made by US officials indicate that the sanctions against Turkey are to expand.
  • It is necessary to elaborate on the assertion that the United States is planning a new projection by forcing Turkey out of its alliance system. This is because, if Turkey is barred from NATO, then an intervention could be possible. Otherwise, legally and politically, and intervention shall not be possible. At the very least, the US will not want to become a state that occupies its ally.
  • In this context, to withstand US compulsions Turkey should develop policies that target a political-economic cooperation with German-axis “EU/New West”; a political-security based “Eurasian Union” with Russia and Iran and a China-based economic-political “World Island Cooperation” supported by “Belt-Road” geography.