The F-35 decision and its aftermath
In people’s minds, the harsh response to Turkey’s S-400 purchase is directly related to escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. The idea that Western nations, especially the United States, seek to hurt Turkey’s vital interests has become more and more popular within the ruling party and among the opposition. I believe that tensions between Ankara and Washington must be handled carefully. The leader-to-leader diplomacy between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Trump is possibly the only positive factor in bilateral relations. We must recognize that Turkey-U.S. relations just entered a new phase. The period of tension, which started in 2013, has given way to the period of a relationship under the shadow of sanctions. It is no secret that Washington’s potential sanctions on the Turkish defense industry would have serious repercussions for military cooperation between the two nations. Although the intention to remain strategic partners is a good thing, we know now that actions, not words, shape the relationship. Ankara needs a fifth-generation fighter jet, and Russia seems willing to supply it. Going forward, Moscow will be more and more eager to deepen the cracks between Turkey, the United States and NATO. Without further delay, Washington must understand that the nature of its relationship with Turkey has changed, repair it and discover new areas of cooperation.