Washington is Determined to Bring Ankara to Heel By Martin Berger

5 October 2018 — NEO

Over the last six decades, Turkey and the United States have grown into strategic partners and NATO allies. Both countries wouldfaced similarchallenges bothduring the days of theCold War and after them. However, in spite ofthe fact that Turkey and the United States remain a pivotal component of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations, it won’t be an exaggeration to state that their relations have seen better times.

For years, Turkey has beenrushing to Washington’s rescue whenevernecessary, however the latterdid not pay Ankara in kind, preferring instead to keep Turkey on a shortleash.

HoweverWashington facedserious disagreements with itsTurkish allies, and it had no way of pushing its agenda through conventional means, and would instead take advantage of Turkey’s armed forces, thus taking advantage of usually pro-Western generals. The same pattern can be observed throughout all of thefour military coups modernTurkey hasexperienced so far, since all of them (May 27, 1960, March 12, 1971, September 12, 1980, and February 28, 1997) were stagedby high-profileTurkish officers who were acting in the best interests of the White House.

But these daysthe situation has changed drastically, sinceTurkey’sarmed forces have become the backbone of thecivilian government. That’s why, whenWashington decided it was time to show Ankara its place, if found itself deprived of its favorite tool of meddling amid Turkey’s sovereign affairs.

Today, one of the stumbling blocks in the relationship between the two countries is Islamic clericFethullah Gülen, who fled Turkey and receivedpolitical asylum in the United States. Ankara perceives theorganization he leads asa terrorist group accused of staging amilitary coup d’etat, therefore Turkeydemanded his extradition from the US. In turn,Washington would boldlyignore all ofthese demands.

Another point of contention betweenAnkara andWashington is the fateof American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in Turkey on suspicion of plottinga coup attempt back in2016. Some media sources claim that he has recently been released from house arrest, but the overall situation remains unclear.

No less important are the different outlooks the two states have onMiddle Eastern affairs in general, and the Syrian conflict inparticular. Both the US-ledproject of aGreater Middle East and the neo-Ottoman ambitionsthe ruling Justice and Development Party of Turkey had in Syria have all butcollapsed. In the aftermath of the drastic turn the Syrian conflict took after the arrival of Russian forces,the two countries began to position themselves differently, as they were no longer pursuing a seemingly common agenda inSyria, Iraq, and Iran.

After successfully securing rapprochement with Russia,Turkey had the courage to try escapingthe violent patronage of the United States, while beginning the pursuit of its own national interests upon the regional stage. This resulted in relationsbetween the United States and Turkey reaching a boiling point in recent months.

Further still, the harsh stance Washington took against Turkey has considerablystrengthened Ankara’s determinationto acquire Russia‘s top of the lineS-400 air defense system, while announcing the intention to settle payment in the national currencies of the two states, instead of using US dollars. On top of all that, Washington has clearly become infuriated by Ankara announcing itsintention to develop strong tieswith theBRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). As a result, Washington’s anger over Turkey’s behavior hasmanifested itself in the former introducingsanctions against a number ofTurkish ministers that came together with the announcement that Washington may have a change of heart as far as the saleof US-made F-35 warplanes toTurkey is concerned.

Erdogan has also accuses the White House of launching a trade war against Ankara, with the biggest Turkish banks coming under fire. Last June, Turkey chose to stop investing in US treasuries, thus abandoning the list of the largest holders of US Treasury securities. Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the fall of the Turkish lira as a “political conspiracy” against his country, which would not go unnoticed or unpunished. He argued that Turkey is going to turn to new markets and new allies, as it’s been reported by Le Monde.

With tensions running high, one could hardly be surprised that Turkey’s president TayyipErdogan chose to walk out on Donald Trump delivering a speech in front ofthe UN General Assembly.

Given that the contradictions between the two countries have not been resolved, both sides will carry on taking hostile steps against each other,although any sharp escalation of the present war of wordscan hardly be expected in the foreseeablefuture. It should be noted that relations betweenErdogan andTrump have developed in a curious pattern, first they speak highly of each other, then they start swearing and calling names only to become best friends again two weeks later.Apparently, this is the new norm of international relations.

But none of the above mentioned facts distract Washington from pursuing its main goal – putting Ankara back on a short leash. To achieve this, it needs to convince Ankara that only Washington is a real friend of Turkey, one that cannot possibly be replaced by Iran, Syria or Russia. But this approach requires the US to make an attempt at discrediting the above mentioned states, and that’s where the allegedly humanitarian organization known as the White Helmets comes into play. If prominent Turkish journalist,Ergün Diler, is to be believed, this group was created by British intelligence, and it comes in handy as it can stage false flag attacks against Turkish troops operating in Syria, which can result in a rapprochement between the United States with Ankara, notes the Yeni Çağ.

There’s a very good reason whyBritish authorities chose to provide asylumto a total of98 members of the White Helmets together withtheir families afterevacuating them from southern Syriawith the assistance of theUnited States and Israel. The UK has already proven that it is more than capable of staging a full-blown false-flag attack with the assistance of theWhite Helmets. And the best part is that London is always eager to act“in the bestinterests of the United States,” even if it jeopardizes its own positions upon the international stage.

So it is unlikely that preparations forsuch a provocation will take long, and one can be absolutely confident that MSM sources from the US and UK will take full advantage of it in a bid to carry on their own little propaganda war.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook. https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/15/washington-is-determined-to-bring-ankara-to-heel/

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