Turkish-US Relations: From Strategic Partnership to Cunning Enmity

The Turkish-US Crisis is intensifying day by day. It has become clear that the situation, which was initially assessed as conjunctural, is of a structural nature. Such a trend is likely to lead to radical changes. In other words, the current period can be considered as extremely critical for the future of bilateral relations.

This topic has been mulled over numerous times before including in an article titled “Epithet Issue in Turkish-American Relations”. The verdict line of the article in question was: “In an environment were mutual concerns, threat perceptions and trust continues to be the determining factor, bilateral relations are in the process of being denominated as either “friendly” or “hostile”.

So, is the “agnomen issue” still persistent in Turkish-American relations? Frankly speaking, No! The definition is on the course of being coined as “strategic enmity”. If the US continues to maintain its discourse, then the concern of “Losing Turkey” which began in the early 2000s is ought to become a reality.

In other words, US President Donald Trump could one day wake up only to be bewildered with the fact that Turkey has left NATO and he will probably come across this event with a tweet; since it is the only language he speaks and understands.

In this context, it is benignant for the US President to carefully monitor the responses given by Turkey. If assessed carefully, the messages given by Ankara reflect an imperforate “consensus” and “determination”. Hence, a change of googles is recommended for the US to better perceive Turkey.

Washington is still approaching the new world and Turkey with its old habits, which in fact is a grievance of the US. However, that’s all water over the dam. Everything is changing, alliances too…

Therefore, it is necessary for Washington to understand that the quest and foundation of a New World Order cannot be the monopoly of the US and neither are they the “masters” of the world anymore. The origination of a unipolar world came to an end on 16th November 2001, just two months after September 11.

An Ultimatum from Turkey to the US…

At this point, the following enunciation by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is paramount; “America is not our umbilical cord. If the US fails to change its attitude it is ought to disinherit a strong and sincere partner such as Turkey.”

In plain English, the following memo is being delivered to the US; “Washington is more dependent on Ankara due to its location within the Ottoman-Seljuk geography that links the Caucasus, Balkans, Black Sea, Middle-East, the Caspian and Central Asia with one another. This fact will be better understood in the event of capitulation. Turkey can overcome an economical-financial crisis. However, the US will fail to find a strategic partner that can replace Turkey. This has been undertaken with “GMEP Kurdistan” which failed badly. Other projects within the Turkic-Islam geography, as well as the world, will fail to actualise.”

It is important to note that President Erdogan asserted the above words in Africa. For sure the US will be excogitated on the “timing” and “location” and decipher the true meaning of the missive. Hence, the response and decisions of Turkey will be decisive. This is because the US is clear about its demands, however, the antiphon of Ankara remains a misery.

Why is Turkey Rather Serene?

The adjudication of Turkey will not only affect Turkish-US Relations but also the “New Yalta Order” too. This is because the decision of Turkey will be conclusive regarding the “direction”, “name” and “address” of the new international system. Hence this sums up the anger, reaction and desperation of the US. In contrast, although Turkey has numerous concerns too, Ankara is more complacent compared to Washington. And the reasons are;

First, Turkey is aware that the West and, in this context, the US lack their former power. The West has become the world’s new sick man and is on the verge of collapsing.

Therefore; 1. The West is not monolithic towards Turkey. It is divided into three groups, namely, the US, EU-Germany and the UK.; 2. Thus the US has lost its lead over the West; 3. Moreover, a struggle for “power” and “self-reliance” has commenced in the US. (It is substantial to analyse the relations between the US-Germany and the EU-UK from this perspective. Especially the contestation of Germany versus the US over the EU can be evaluated within this context.); 4. Cooperation with Turkey by the above mentioned three power centres is very important for their future. 5. Hence, the future of the West relies on the choices Turkey will make.

A similar situation is present in the “Turkey-Emerging East” context. If the “Emerging East” losses Turkey, its struggle against the West will be greatly impacted. The mislaying of Turkey will lead to a domino effect whereby Iran, hence Russia and ultimately China will be heavily affected.

Thus, Russia and China are obliged to sustenance Turkey while Iran must agree with Turkey both within the context of “collapsing West” and the “Emerging East”. This is not a “choice” but a “strategic necessity” for Iran and the others. Turkey’s importance and geopolitical-strategic location mandate this reality.

The conjuncture, with its historical, geographic and political dimensions is offering Turkey a unique opportunity. This is a centenary opportunity and no doubt Ankara is putting it into perspective. This is also the outcome of the multidimensional foreign policy understanding based on the balance of power.

Finally, the “anti-American” conception initiated by the late Professor Necmettin Erbakan and “independent foreign policy” understanding will continue to gain momentum.