Jun 30 2018

Turkish-US relations outlook bleak – think-tank

The outlook in Turkish-U.S. relations following Sunday’s elections is highly tense and it is difficult to be optimistic, analysts at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) said.

“Turkey’s election results offer little hope of a reset in its troubled relations with transatlantic partners. The elements that have contributed to the tension — and very real policy differences — remain, and some have been reinforced. The elections confirm the strength of nationalism as the center of gravity in Turkish politics,” Ian Lesser said.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his alliance partners, and much of the opposition have played heavily on conspiratorial notions of Turkey being under siege from a West eager to see it fail.”

Turkish-Western relations would increasingly move towards a transactional relationship rather than one based on common values, Lesser added. However, he said, there is little trust remaining between Turkey in the West and so even this relationship would be difficult to maintain.

GMFUS fellow Jonathan Katz said that the U.S. Congress was likely to provoke more strife between the U.S. and Turkey.

“The Turkish election outcome has reinforced deeply rooted views from Capitol Hill that Erdoğan is an authoritarian and an increasingly unreliable NATO Ally. Major backsliding in bilateral relations is a real possibility,” he said.

“Erdoğan intentionally or unintentionally could trigger an administration or congressional reaction if his government moves forward on purchasing S-400 weapons systems from Russia, ignores re-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, and if the issue of Pastor Brunson’s detention is not resolved.”