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Turkey says the United States has canceled plans to deploy two warships to the Black Sea

Turkey frequently shows goodwill. Can Turkey-US relations “Open a new page”?

by YCPress

Turkish President Erdoğan said recently that Turkey’s relationship with the United States will be tested in 2020, hoping that the relationship between the two countries will “turn a new page” next year.

Analysts believe that Erdoğan’s statement conveys Turkey’s expectation of President-elect Biden, who will take office in January next year. Although Turkey and the United States have a need to improve their relations, it is difficult to decide whether the relationship between the two sides can be improved at present.

Frequent goodwill

On November 7, U.S. media estimated that Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Biden won more than 270 electoral votes needed for election in the U.S. presidential election. Since then, Turkey has frequently released goodwill to Biden’s team.

On November 10, Erdogan sent a congratulatory telegram to Biden, expressing his attitude earlier than other Middle Eastern countries. In his congratulatory telegram, he stressed that the relationship between Turkey and the United States is “strategic and has a deep foundation” and that the two sides need to “further develop and strengthen” the relationship. At the end of November, Erdoğan stressed at an international conference that the United States remains the priority direction of Turkey’s diplomacy and that Turkish-Russian relations will not replace Turkish-American relations.

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavušoğlu also made a positive statement. He said in late November: “The United States has held a general election, and we will work to put the relationship between the two countries back on a positive track in the strategic interests of Turkey and the United States.”

On December 8, the Turkish government appointed Hassan Murat Merjan, the ambassador to Japan, as ambassador to the United States. Merjan has an American educational background, is one of the founders of the ruling Justice and Development Party, and has served as the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Loya National Assembly. He has strong political influence in Turkey. Public opinion believes that the Turkish government appointed this person as the ambassador to the United States, obviously hoping that he can take advantage of the opportunity of the new U.S. government to come to power to promote the positive development of Turkish-U.S. relations.

In addition, Turkey has recently sent a signal to improve relations with Israel. Because of Israel’s close relationship with the United States, some analysts believe that this move also means improving relations with the new US government in the future.

Economic demand is the main reason

Turkey’s relations with the United States have been tense in recent years, and the two sides have been in constant relations. At present, there are two main problems affecting Turkish-US relations. The first is the issue of Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made air defense systems. “Turkey contracts with Russia to purchase S-400 anti-aircraft missile system in 2017” The United States believes that this poses a threat to NATO and continues to pressure Turkey not to buy it, but Turkey is not moved. To this end, the United States announced sanctions against Turkey on December 14 this year.

The second is the Curon problem. After the attempted military coup in Turkey in 2016, the Turkish government accused the religious figure Guron living in the United States and his “Gulomb Movement” as the mastermind behind it, and repeatedly requested the extradition of Gulun, but the United States refused. The Turkish government liquidated Guron’s supporters at home and was accused of “despotism” and “human rights violations” by many Western countries, including the United States.

At a time when these contradictions have not been fully resolved, Turkey has frequently shown goodwill to the United States. Analysts believe that this is mainly due to Turkey’s economic demand for the United States and its European allies.

Ba Zhe, director of the Turkish Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that for Turkey, Russia and other countries are not a substitute for the markets of the United States and Europe, and the Turkish economy, which has been hit hard by the epidemic, also urgently needs investment from the United States and Europe. Erdoğan once said, “We have always respected investors in the United States and Europe.”

The future direction is unpredictable.

Ba Zhe is generally optimistic about the future trend of Turkish-US relations. He believes that Turkey has made a positive gesture and is expected to make some concessions in the future, and Biden should not exert excessive pressure on Turkey after taking office. Turkey is a NATO ally of the United States and is of strategic importance to the United States in the Middle East. Without Turkey’s help, the United States will not be able to effectively promote the Middle East policy.

However, he also stressed that it is unknown how much specific demands the new U.S. government will make to Turkey and how many compromises Turkey can make.

Meiliha, a professor of international relations at the Turkish Middle East University of Science and Technology, believes that although future Turkish-US relations will benefit from the predictability of Biden’s government policies, it will still be as good or bad as before.

Some analysts point out that the Biden administration’s position on key issues between Turkey and the United States will have a direct impact on the future development of Turkey-U.S. relations. For example, Biden’s team emphasizes values such as “democracy” and “human rights”, and may have new contradictions with Turkey on the Guron issue in the future.

In addition, the United States once had a huge contradiction with Turkey, which regards Kurdish armed forces as a security threat, because of its support for Kurdish forces in Syria. Although this contradiction has been alleviated by the suspension of support for Kurdish armed forces by current U.S. President Trump and the pursuit of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, it may intensify again in the future.

Turkish Middle East expert Olhan believes that the Biden administration will change Trump’s policy of full withdrawal from Syria. There is also a analysis of American think tanks that Biden will be the most pro-Kurdish president in American history, and the Biden administration is likely to increase its support for Kurdish forces in Syria in the future.

Maliha said that the new U.S. government’s policy towards Syria will be the most important factor affecting the future development of Turkish-U.S. relations.