There seems to be a sadistic element to the sanctions imposed by the United States on Turkey. It says in a sense: “See what have you done? You made me sanction you!”
None of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's songs were worth listening to, but his last one was just repulsive. If U.S. President Donald Trump has really lost the election by a mere 46,000 votes, I bet they were cast by those who hate his guts.
NATO in Brussels and the Russian defense ministry both know that Turkey is not an adversary of the U.S. and that the Russian-made S-400 air defense system is not incompatible with NATO defense systems. Your sanctions are not killing us; therefore, they are going to make us stronger.
How could you trust a country with whom you have adversarial relations and yet allow them to continue to manufacture 139 parts of your most modern weapon system, the F-35?
It is going to be staple all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Many of those capabilities depend on the parts manufactured in Turkey.
In the early days of the S-400 controversy, someone at the Pentagon suggested that a country purchasing a Russian defense system could not be trusted to manufacture parts for a NATO aircraft. But that report was immediately set aside, and the Pentagon said it would continue to depend on Turkish defense contractors for key components of the F-35 through 2022.
In the end, the Trump administration softened its decision to oust Turkey from the F-35 program. Turkey would continue to build parts, but it could not buy the completed planes.
This situation borders on idiotic. Turkey – as well as all other NATO members – is familiar with all the advanced capabilities of the F-35s, and the U.S. claims that it cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence-collection platform are sheer nonsense.
The U.S. has not accepted Ankara's invitation to examine the S-400 system's capabilities and what it can do. Washington's resistance simply makes Turks believe that the S-400 is not the real cause of these Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions; it is clear that something else, deeper, lies underneath.
The sanctions themselves actually tell all: The U.S. is targeting Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), which is the country’s main military procurement agency, and its chief Ismail Demir and three other senior officials.
The U.S. is not only sanctioning an ally through CAATSA for the first time, but it is trying to demolish its independent national security industry.
In other words, the last "grown-up" left in the room is telling Turkey that the deep bureaucratic U.S. establishment is not happy with what it's doing: that is, committing to becoming an independent country. For the U.S., a dependent ally is a good ally. If you try to become independent, you are a bad ally.
Pompeo is on his way out, but apparently, it is not going to be a quiet exit. We are aware that he is not the one who will need to be dragged off the inauguration platform because he will continue to affect the policy outcomes even during the new administration.
Pompeo is expected to hand his neoconservative brethren in the Joe Biden Cabinet a list of “adversaries,” which includes a U.S. ally. The arrogance Pompeo displayed during his last visit to Turkey, which included only Istanbul and the seat of the Greek Orthodox patriarch, but not Ankara, the capital of the country, adds to the U.S. threats targeting Turkey.
That threat started as soon as Turkey demanded to purchase an air defense system four years ago. Eyebrows raised: “Why do you want to buy an air defense system? Can NATO not provide enough of an umbrella for you? When you need extra systems like Patriots, we send them to you from the Netherlands. When the threat is over, we take them back.”
When Ankara said it was not satisfactory for its strategic goals, even more eyebrows rose in Washington. “No,” they said. “We are not going to sell them to you.” And they didn’t. They would send Patriots and their operators to Turkey, against, for instance, Syria’s Bashar Assad, but they wouldn’t allow Turkey to own and operate an air defense system.
Turkey saw the U.S.' hand and raised it! While doing so, Turkey found itself in Washington's crosshairs.
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