Com­mer­cial dis­putes threaten shaky Turkey-US re­la­tions 2 Riyals • Vol. XLV No. 294 • 16 pages

Arab News - - Front Page - Menekse Tokyay Ankara

The al­ready rocky re­la­tion­ship be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Ankara is fur­ther threat­ened by two new dis­putes over tele­coms and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo re­cently warned Turkey against us­ing equip­ment made by Chi­nese tele­coms gi­ant Huawei, which is seen by the US and other coun­tries as a tool for Chi­nese state es­pi­onage — thus threat­en­ing bi­lat­eral mil­i­tary re­la­tions — and al­ready has ac­cess to a sub­stan­tial amount of data in Turkey, where 4.6 mil­lion mo­bile users have a Huawei ID.

Jonathan Katz, se­nior fel­low at the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund of the US, said Pom­peo’s warn­ing should not be seen merely as “sym­bolic” and that Turkey “will need to take Sec­re­tary Pom­peo’s con­cerns and warn­ings se­ri­ously.”

Mean­while, US Am­bas­sador to Turkey David Sat­ter­field stated in an on­line trade con­fer­ence on Sept. 23 that Turkey’s state-run hos­pi­tals owe

Amer­i­can phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies around $2.3 bil­lion and warned that any prospect of non­pay­ment or a re­quest for a re­duc­tion is likely to dis­suade US com­pa­nies from oper­at­ing in the Turk­ish mar­ket. “This is not a di­rec­tion which serves the in­ter­ests of Turkey,” Sat­ter­field said.

Mu­rat Emir, deputy leader of Turkey’s op­po­si­tion, the Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP), claimed on Thurs­day that the gov­ern­ment had re­quested a 60-per­cent re­duc­tion in the amount owed and said Ankara is “un­der­min­ing the coun­try’s pres­tige.”

Turkey ex­pert Matthew Gold­man, from Is­tan­bul’s Swedish Re­search In­sti­tute, said it is likely

Turkey’s ties with China will con­tinue to harm US-Turkey re­la­tions for some time.

In terms of the pharma cri­sis, Gold­man said: “The fragility of Turkey’s public fi­nances is un­for­tu­nately high­lighted by this case and it can no longer count on good­will in Wash­ing­ton to help sort it out.”

Pom­peo warned Turkey against us­ing equip­ment made by Chi­nese tele­coms gi­ant Huawei, which is seen by the US and other coun­tries as a tool for Chi­nese state es­pi­onage — thus threat­en­ing bi­lat­eral mil­i­tary re­la­tions — and al­ready has ac­cess to a sub­stan­tial amount of data in Turkey.

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