May 26 2019

The United States is forcing Turkey to decide its loyalties - analysis

The United States would no longer tolerate Turkey playing a double game between Moscow and Washington and force the latter to decide its loyalties, writer James Gorrie said in the Epoch Times. 

"Turkey engages in a delicate and dangerous ballet on the fence which divides its allegiances to NATO and the West on one side, and Russia and militant Islamism on the other. Turkey wants it both ways, but their dance is fooling no one. Trump won’t be tolerating that for too long," said Gorrie. 

The ties between the two NATO allies have been strained over a series of odds, including Turkey's planned purchase of a Russian air defence system, an American pastor's detention in Turkey and Washington's refusal to extradite a U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkey accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016. 

The United States is firmly opposed to Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile system, due for delivery in July, and has been threatening sanctions on Turkey and a freeze on the delivery of the F-35 stealth jets. Washington says the Russian system could compromise NATO systems, particularly the F-35 fighter jets Ankara plans to have. 

Also, the U.S.-Turkish relationship has been deteriorating over Turkey’s overt support for Venezuelan dictator Victor Maduro, according to the writer. "This puts Ankara on the same side as Russia and China against America’s backing of opposition leader Juan Guaido."

Another dispute between Ankara and Washington is the Syrian Kurds that allied the United States in the battle against the Islamic State. Turkey sees People's Protection Units (YPG) that forms the backbone of the U.S.-backed coalition in northern Syria as a terrorist organisation. 

Despite disagreements, Ankara has long benefitted from U.S. support, but the U.S. President Donal Trump is forcing it "to decide its loyalties and future resides", Gorrie said.