Washington, D.C. By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
In October 2014, just before then Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Istanbul for a meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, while speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School, he told the audience that the President of Turkey told him that they allowed too many people to get through their borders with Syria and now they are trying to seal them.
Erdogan denied the claim and got furious, demanding a retraction, otherwise he wouldn’t have received the U.S. Vice President.
Under pressure from Barack Obama, Biden was forced to apologize.
“The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria,” a White House statement said.
Of course Joe Biden was not wrong at the time. Erdogan indeed had told him that few days earlier, when they met in the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and the U.S. Vice President had confront him with hard data showing ISIS members crossing the Turkish – Syrian border from either side.
Joe Biden had even harder time when he visited Ankara in August 2016, just 40 days after the failed coup. The pro-government press was accusing the United States for having knowledge and even helping the conspirators; and Tayyip Erdogan speaking along with Joe Bide accused the United States for harboring “terrorist” Gullen.
The four years of Trump’s presidency could have been a honeymoon for Tayyip Erdogan, if it weren’t for the imprisonment of Pastor Andrew Branson and the acquisition of S-400 Russian missiles. The delay to free Branson made Trump angry, while the S-400s made the Congress angry. As a result, for the first time after 1975 the U.S. Congress took measures against Turkey, that resulted to CAATSA sanction, just days before Trump departed from the White House.
IT’S ALL OVER AGAIN
Erdogan’s line of defense against pressure not to buy the S-400s was jto place the blame to the Obama administration for not giving him weapon systems that he asked. President Trump also put the blame to President Obama for that, in front of Erdogan, in an unprecedented for U.S. President move.
Although world leaders make decisions based on their countries’ interests, is anyone who believes that Joe Biden is so ill from dementia to forget Erdogan’s hostility?
From the first days of the new Biden administration his top advisors made clear that for Turkey it won’t be “business as usual”.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Senators during his confirmation that Turkey is a “so called strategic ally” and made clear that he will take int consideration not only its relationship with Russia and Iran, but also its human rights record etc.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan went even further, during his conversation with Ibrahim Kalin, Spokesperson and Chief Advisor to the President of Turkey.
According to a statement by NSC Spokesperson Emily Horne, Mr. Sullivan underscored the Biden Administration’s desire to build constructive U.S.-Turkey ties, expanding areas of cooperation and managing disagreements effectively. He conveyed the administration’s intention to strengthen transatlantic security through NATO, expressing concern that Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system undermines alliance cohesion and effectiveness.
Mr. Sullivan welcomed the resumption of exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece, and he expressed support for plans by United Nations Secretary General Guterres to resume talks on Cyprus.
He underscored the Biden administration’s broad commitment to supporting democratic institutions and the rule of law. They agreed to cooperate on global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, and to consult closely on regional issues of mutual concern.
The statement omits any past reference to Turkey as a strategic ally and valuable partner of the United States and just lists problems that the United States wants to see them solved, in order to repair its relationship with Erdogan.
But even if Joe Biden and his top National Security advisors want to forget, Turkish officials played back 2016 post–coup tunes. Turkey’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu accused the United States on Thursday of being behind a 2016 failed coup. Soylu told Hurriyet the United States had managed the coup attempt while Gulen’s network carried it out, adding “Europe was enthusiastic about it,” reaffirming a view he said he had been expressing since the putsch.
“It is blatantly clear the United States is behind July 15. It was FETO who carried it out upon their orders,” he said.
Responding to the Turkish Statements on the 2016 Attempted Coup in Turkey, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said:
“The United States had no involvement in the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey and promptly condemned it. Recent assertions to the contrary made by senior Turkish officials are wholly false.
These remarks and other unfounded and irresponsible claims of U.S. responsibility for events in Turkey are inconsistent with Turkey’s status as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States.”
Meanwhile a State Department Spokesperson told the hellasjournal.com correspondent Michael Ignatiou that President Biden has promised to call out Turkish behavior that is inconsistent with international law or its commitments to NATO.
Responding to a question on while there is a change in U.S. policy regarding the S-400 acquisition by Turkey, the spokesperson said:
“Russian S-400s are incompatible with NATO equipment, threaten the security of NATO technology, and are inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a NATO Ally. This significant transaction from Russia triggered CAATSA sanctions under U.S. legislation. We urge Turkey not to retain the system.
Turkey is a longstanding and valued NATO Ally. However, the acquisition of the S-400 runs directly counter to the commitments all Allies made at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw to reduce dependencies on Russian equipment. As part of our commitment to our Allies, President Biden has promised to call out Turkish behavior that is inconsistent with international law or its commitments to NATO.
We urge Turkey, and all U.S. partners and allies, to avoid future purchases of Russian weaponry, including additional S-400s, which bring Russia revenue, access, and influence. Any such transactions could be subject to CAATSA sanctions separate from and in addition to those already imposed.”
Bottom line: We haven’t seen much yet in the U.S. – Turkish front.