December 2, 2022

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Turkish Overseas Minister Faces Robust Questions in Washington

ISTANBUL — Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is because of meet Wednesday in Washington with Secretary of State Antony Blinken — the most recent step within the technique of repairing ties between the 2 NATO allies. The Turkish diplomat could have powerful inquiries to reply relating to Turkey’s efforts to veto bids by Finland and Sweden to hitch the Atlantic alliance.

As soon as a detailed ally of Washington, Ankara has seen relations strained over Turkey’s poor human rights file and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shut ties along with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Turkey’s robust backing of Ukraine within the face of Russia’s invasion has provided a possibility to reset U.S.-Turkish relations, and analysts predict Cavusoglu’s go to to Washington will assist that course of.

However Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow on the European Council, warned Erdogan’s menace to veto Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bids is casting a shadow over the go to.

“It definitely complicates the go to but in addition makes it extra vital,” Aydintasbas stated. “The Biden administration began out with a coverage of social distancing, retrenchment from the Center East, and likewise not treating Turkey as the large geopolitical prize in a big chess sport. And Turkey is exhibiting it’s not going to let that occur.

“And, in fact, the Ukraine warfare has clearly enhanced as soon as once more Turkey’s geostrategic location and significance.”

On Monday, Erdogan accused Finland and Sweden of supporting terrorist organizations combating Turkey, referring to Kurdish teams. He stated Stockholm and Helsinki shouldn’t trouble to ship diplomatic delegations to alter his thoughts.

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Erdogan’s hardening stance, analysts warn, will possible add to issues in Washington over the Turkish president’s shut ties with Putin. As well as, Turkey’s buy of Russia’s S-400 missile system prompted Washington to impose navy sanctions on Ankara.

Soli Ozel, a global relations specialist at Istanbul’s Kadir Has College, stated one in every of Cavusoglu’s targets — persuading Washington to permit the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey — will possible be difficult by renewed questions over the place Erdogan’s final allegiances lie.

“There shall be voices elevating that query,” Ozel stated. “I’m afraid it may also result in a way more detrimental sentiment promoting the F-16s and the kits for upgrading the present F-16s within the U.S. Congress. In that sense I don’t discover such a public transfer so advisable.”

Russian media on Tuesday introduced Putin was planning to go to Turkey within the coming days, a report that has not been confirmed by Ankara however will possible add to the unease amongst Turkey’s Western allies, together with Washington. Aaron Stein, head of the Pennsylvania-based Overseas Coverage Analysis Institute, stated sentiments in Washington towards Turkey are more likely to turn out to be solely extra entrenched.

“It’s roughly bolstered that Ankara is to pursue its personal pursuits,” Stein stated. “So, some folks recommend it’s time to promote them F-16s, and others recommend we’d like compromise on the S-400. However issues occur and rabbits will be pulled out of hats. However this one has proved significantly sticky with the S-400s and the F-16s.”

Analysts additionally anticipate Cavusoglu will underline the significance of restoring nearer communication between the nation’s two presidents. How such requests are met could depend upon Washington’s strategy, and whether or not U.S. officers resolve to confront or acquiesce to Erdogan’s veto threats on Sweden and Finland.

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Dorian Jones