Jul 21 2019

Erdoğan is isolated, follows a path to his political demise - Guardian

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became isolated in international politics and follows a destructive path to his political end, according to an article by journalist Simon Tisdall in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday.

Turkey last week started receiving the delivery of the Russian surface-to-air missile systems despite objections of the United States, which has concerns that the S-400s could access sensitive data on F-35 stealth fighter jets.

U.S. President Donald Trump this week said the United States would cancel the delivery of 100 F-35 jets Turkey purchased, while the Pentagon announced that Turkey’s participation in the F-35 joint strike fighter programme had been suspended. 

There is bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for further sanctions to be imposed on Turkey under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Meanwhile, Turkey and the EU remain at loggerheads over the exploration for hydrocarbons in waters near the divided island of Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot side of the island is the only internationally recognized government and is a member of the EU. The bloc on July 15 announced sanctions on Turkey, including a freeze to 146 million euros of pre-accession assistance for Turkey for next year, the suspension of negotiations for an aviation agreement, and a review of lending to Turkey from the European Investment Bank, worth 386 million euros last year.

"To break with the US and Europe in the same week is some achievement, even by his choleric standards," Tisdall said, adding that Ankara also has soured relations with regional neighbours, including Syria, Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Turkey approached Russia to compensate for its losses but the rapprochement does not seem long-lived due to the situation in last rebel stronghold of Idlib and prove another big political miscalculation, according to Tisdall.

Russia and Syria aim to put an end to last rebel areas while Erdoğan strives to extend Turkish-controlled territories eastwards along the Turkey-Syria border. These aims "look increasingly incompatible", the columnist said. 

"At odds with the US, Europe, his Arab neighbours and potentially Russia, too, and increasingly unpopular at home, no-mates Erdoğan is treading a lonely, destructive path towards a strategic and political dead end. The looming question is whether he will take Turkey down with him."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/20/erdogan-lonely-path-to-ruin-turkey-simon-tisdall