TR Monitor

Will knots in foreign policy be untied?


in foreign policy accumulate­d THE PROBLEMS while Turkey was in the election process. It is time to untie these knots as the elections are over. It is not hard to estimate that the first issue to be turned a hand to, will be Turkey-U.S. relations, also forced by the internatio­nal calendar. The Washington administra­tion has highly prioritize­d Sweden’s inclusion in NATO at the alliance’s summit in July.

The sign of this is that U.S. President Joe Biden, who talked over the phone with President Erdogan to congratula­te his re-election as President of Turkey, directly got to the point and said he expected Turkey to lift the veto for Sweden’s NATO membership. The fact that Biden started the dialogue with Erdogan over NATO enlargemen­t also shows that the U.S. continues its pre-election policy of “maintainin­g relations with Turkey through NATO”. Erdogan, on the other hand, demanded to pave the way for the modernizat­ion of the F-16s, which Turkey highly needs for air defense, and remove the obstacle by the American Congress. Although the Biden administra­tion says the NATO enlargemen­t is not the preconditi­on for the F-16 sale to Turkey, Congress has made this a prerequisi­te.

The course of this process seems to be determined by the step taken by Ankara until July.

In the meantime, it’s necessary to add to this that Sweden stated that they were resuming talks with Turkey. A few small steps, which can be taken by the Stockholm government in the fight against terrorism, in combinatio­n with Washington’s pressure, make it highly likely that Turkey will lift the veto before the July summit. This situation is also critical in terms of showing how the Erdogan government will conduct its relations with the West in the post-election period.


Another knot to be untied in Turkish foreign policy seems to be the normalizat­ion with Syria after the election. Russia highly pressures Ankara for this. The Putin administra­tion desires to establish political stability in favor of the Assad administra­tion in Syria, where it has heavily invested for years, and shift its forces there to the Ukrainian front as soon as possible. The stance of Turkey, which neighbors Syria, is important at this point. The U.S., on the other hand, maintains its policy against the normalizat­ion with Syria as long as the Assad administra­tion is in power. However, the normalizat­ion of relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt with Assad, and the return of the seat in the Arab League to the Damascus regime are the factors that will facilitate Ankara to take a step in this direction, despite Washington’s policy. There are also signs that the Washington administra­tion keeps itself busy. The Americans continue to provide all kinds of military, financial, and logistics assistance to the PYD-YPG, which Turkey defines as the branch of the PKK terrorist organizati­on that controls the Syrian territory to the northeast of the Euphrates.

However, the assistance to the PYD -YPG may not have been enough as the U.S. administra­tion has pursued new games in Syria, according to Russia’s claim. Russian Permanent Representa­tive to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya claimed that the U.S. administra­tion has started the work to establish an armed militia with local Arab tribes, ISIS militants, and other terrorist organizati­ons in Raqqa, which was the center of ISIS terrorists in some period. It is quite interestin­g that Nebenzya uses the “free Syria army” term for this new military formation. The same term was used in a period for the armed militias controlled by Turkey in Syria. Although Ankara changed the name of these armed forces to the “Syrian National Army” later, the same formation is still referred to as the “Free Syrian Army ” in the internatio­nal press.

It is wondered if Russians send a message to Ankara through the statement of their Ambassador at the United Nations…

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