The timing of today’s announcement that the US will sanction Turkey if it purchases Russia’s S-400 missile defence system, could not be clearer nor more significant. The US had hoped that CH Party candidate Muharrem İnce would unseat Erdogan during Sunday’s elections, but the US did not get what they wanted. Now that Erdogan comfortably won re-election, the US has officially said what previously it only subtly hinted at, quietly threatened and supinely implied.
Turkey has in the past repeatedly told the US that threats of sanctions will not deter Ankara from pressing ahead with the purchase of the S-400 system from Russia, while President Erdodgan even proposed working collaboratively with Russia to jointly manufacture future S-500 systems. Against this background, the very essence of the long standing but rapidly declining Turkey-US partnership is unravelling.
US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell just stated that it would be difficult to repair bilateral relations if Ankara proceeds with the S-400 deal – something Turkey has stated time and again it has every intention of completing. Mitchell is quoted as saying,
“We made it clear that is Turkey buys S-400s… there will be consequences. We will introduce sanctions within Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)”.
Mitchell then said that in spite of US manufacturer Lockheed-Martin officially “handing over” F-35 jets to Turkey (which nevertheless remain on US soil) that Washington can still withhold the delivery of the fifth generation fighters to Turkish soil. Regarding this, Mitchell stated,
“We believe that we have the existing legal authorities that would allow us to withhold transfer [of F-35s] under certain circumstances, including national security concerns”.
Thus, the US is now openly admitting that if the sanctions threat becomes a reality, the fragile state of relations between Washington and Ankara could irreparably fracture. The recent agreement between Turkey and the US to disarm the YPG/PKK terror group in the northern Syrian city of Manbij before jointly patrolling the area brought a momentary thaw in otherwise rocky relations. While it remains to be seen how the US will carry out its duties as part of the so-called road-map for Manbij, today’s announcement could point to the reality that the Manbij road-map may have been a delaying tactic on the part of Washington, before launching a more serious economic assault on Turkey.
Prior to the Turkish election, western currency speculators including those associated with George Soros drove down the value of the Lira in a concerted effort to foment chaos prior to the elections. While the Lira has rebounded in the aftermath of the elections as Turkish stocks also remain in a healthy position, the new threat of sanctions is clearly intended to foretell a scenario wherein the US will actively work to holistically destroy the Turkish economy in what amounts to a soft regime change technique against the democratically elected President of the Republic of Turkey.
Already, the US has prepared for this through its close relationship with the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO). Turkey has long blamed US assets for helping to orchestrate the failed FETO coup of 2016. Furthermore, Washington has done nothing to distance itself from FETO in the years subsequent to the act of supreme lawlessness which itself is indicative of the fact that the US regrets the fact that the coup failed, rather than feeling shame for the role it played in facilitating it. Likewise, the US still refuses to extradite FETO leader Fethullah Gulen who currently resides in the United States. This combined with America’s battlefield alliance with YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria paints a clear picture that the US is engaging in multiple hostile acts against a country that remains (technically speaking), a NATO ally.
If Turkey follows through with the S-400 deal as President Erdogan and his cabinet members have insisted they will do and sanctions then come as a result, the prospect of a Turkish exit from NATO and an accompanying exit of US assets (including US nuclear weapons) from Turkey’s İncirlik airbase could be a strong possibility.
In any case, this direct threat of sanctions coming days after Erdogan’s successful re-election should send a message to Turkey that in addition to diversifying its security partnerships across the wider global east, that it is in this direction where Turkey must also expand her economic partnerships.
Ankara should begin to gradually divest its financial assets from western institutions and consider the prospects of developing stronger bonds with the financial sector in Shanghai. Turkey has already expressed a keen interest in trading with countries as diverse as Russia, China and Iran in a combination of national currencies as opposed to the US Dollar, but so long as Turkey is even partly beholden to the western financial system, the US and some EU countries will continually try to meddle in Turkey’s sovereign affairs.
Give Washington’s latest threat towards a supposed ally, Turkey’s best defence against western financial, monetary meddling and the threat of sanctions will consist of taking measures to preemptively ween Turkish trade off of US Dollar transactions, all the while working on new partnerships with financial institutions from China and other Asian nations, including Russia. Turkey’s destiny as an independent power is at stake. When western financial institutions declare war, one must respond with vigour.
Just as the US has turned on many allies in the past, it can scarcely be denied that the US is treating Turkey more like a rival than a friend. Turkey must act accordingly in order to safeguard its own interests.