S 400 DEAL SHOULD SHAPE UP THE WEST
The S-400 deal could be the beginning, not the end, of Turkey's relations with NATO and the West
THE S 400 deal could be the beginning of Turkey’s relations with NATO and the West, if our allied friends care about the further recession of NATO borders and their privileges
Germany has announced that it has stopped selling weapons to Turkey. “We have put on hold all big requests [for arms exports] that Turkey has sent us, and these are really not a few,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said. Gabriel justified this attitude, saying they are “concerned that the Turkish government is using these weapons as pressure elements in the country.”
On the other hand, Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed more prudent. She even made statements that frustrated Gabriel, who could not bring concrete evidence for the anxiety he voiced about Turkey.
Speaking to German State Television NDR a couple of days ago, Merkel rejected a total ban on arms exports to the NATO member state. She also reminded that Germany and Turkey, which faces threats about arms embargo, are jointly fighting Daesh.
Nevertheless, it is clear that there is still a problem. In fact, the German government, which has sold 25 million euros worth of weapons to Ankara since January 2017, has not ratified arms shipments to Turkey 11 times since November 2016.
Beyond these hurdles, it is impossible for Turkey to make its defense plans, a crucial issue, in accordance with the populist atmosphere of the German elections.
However, it was the last straw when the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the bill that stipulated a ban on arms sales to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bodyguards.
Undoubtedly, the U.S. Senate’s decision is symbolic, and it cannot be even thought to create weakness in Turkey’s defense.
But all these attitudes are pushing Ankara to reshape and diversify its defense policies.
Turkey was left alone by NATO during the July 15 coup attempt last year and the U.S. is overtly providing arms to People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorists in Syria - both of which cause the people to support this new policy from Ankara.
There is such a background in the process that has pushed Turkey, a NATO member, to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia.
It seems hard to return from this path. Erdoğan said Turkey has already paid a deposit to Russia for S-400 missiles. And Moscow is making supportive statements in this regard.
A Turkish proverb says, “Better lose the saddle than the horse.”
Great partners of the U.S. and NATO, such as Germany, should understand that Turkey couldn’t choose another way than seeking an alternative to threats, considering that no sovereign state on earth can act against its existence.
That is why they should give up populist intimidation policies that they support with lame excuses and should stop further pushing Turkey to the “east.”
They should understand that the U.S. State Department’s recent statement about their "concerns" no longer concern anyone on this territory.
The only thing they need to do is to be more reasonable and to fulfill the minimum requirements of the relationship between equals.
Thus, the S-400 deal could be the beginning, not the end, of Turkey's relations with NATO and the West, if our "allied friends" care about the further recession of NATO borders and their privileges in this territory, which is the only transit route of energy lines.