New period of normalization in Turkey-US relations

Published 21.06.2018 00:52 Modified 21.06.2018 00:52

The new equation emerging in the international community may push Turkey and the U.S. closer than ever

Despite all the problems and hesitations, Turkey and the U.S. have been able to maintain an alliance for more than 50 years. But the balances of these relations were disturbed in the run-up to the critical U.S. presidential elections in November 2016. Those in power in the U.S. marked a very comprehensive "election campaign" throughout this process in the Middle East, which is an unchanging issue used in U.S. election campaigns.

Things got worse with the U.S.-backed Arab Spring, the Egyptian coup d'etat, the Syrian civil war, and the intervention of several other actors like China and Russia in the field of influence. Besides, Turkey, which acted as a corridor between Europe and the Middle East, was not the same as before conforming to Washington's wishes. A political will, enjoying a strong popular support, seeking alternative political and economic partnerships was governing Ankara this time. So, they were required to convince the new ruling power in Turkey beforehand.But the U.S. went its own way and provided military support aid to terrorist groups fighting Turkey and supported the military coup attempt orchestrated by Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). In the midst of such a chaotic atmosphere, President Donald Trump took up the presidential seat with promises that he would focus on domestic affairs and give up Barack Obama's policies. But the new president could not change the route of his country as promised since he had to search for alliances inside the country.

The terror attacks that shook the Middle East and Turkey prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections were thwarted to a great extent after Trump's inauguration. But Trump cautiously and timidly continued implementing the policies remaining from the Obama period.

Despite all this, the past week witnessed some promising developments between Washington and Ankara. The U.S. has finally taken a step back in regards to Manbij, Syria – after insisting until recently that they will control the town with the PKK terror group and its Syrian offshoot People's Protection Units (YPG). The PKK and YPG were eliminated whereas the U.S. troops began cooperating with its legitimate ally, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), as they should.

Despite all the attempts of the U.S. Senate, which acts according to old habits instead of the new world order and balances, the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey was not canceled. It is true that Trump might make another confusing decision, which might abruptly change this positive atmosphere. But my opinion on Trump is similar to the views of U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson. To quote the candid remarks of Johnson that was recently leaked to the press from a closed-door dinner, "I have become more and more convinced that there is a method in his madness."

It is true that Trump has been creating a great deal of breakage and chaos. But everything converges in the end. Although new problems keep arising, the chronic problems such as the North Korea crisis have been tackled.

This is related to Turkey's changing attitude and position. Forced into unequal alliance relations before, Turkey is currently evaluating its other alternatives by making use of this equation. I am sure that the intervention of China and Russia in the West to an extent that will even disturb the famous pro-U.S. speculator George Soros and Turkey's new invaluable position within this equation did not escape Trump's notice. I think we are on the threshold of a new normalization period in U.S.-Turkey relations.

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