Turkey - Geopolitical & Geostrategic.

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
The F-35 deal with Turkey should be terminated, both the sale of jets and the engine maintenance centre.
It would send a nasty message about the reliability of the US as a partner in such projects. Turkey is not just buyer but also a partner in the F-35 program. It would also push Turkey towards Russia, not a smart move. It's a tricky situation, and the decision to tie the F-35 sale to the S-400 sale was not a smart one, in my opinion. In today's increasingly more complex world, an "us or them" mindset can be counter productive.
 

SolarWind

Active Member
It would send a nasty message about the reliability of the US as a partner in such projects. Turkey is not just buyer but also a partner in the F-35 program. It would also push Turkey towards Russia, not a smart move. It's a tricky situation, and the decision to tie the F-35 sale to the S-400 sale was not a smart one, in my opinion. In today's increasingly more complex world, an "us or them" mindset can be counter productive.
Such behavior would not be inconsistent on part of the US and is expectable. Whatever the cause of Turkish tilt toward Russia, which had not been foreseen a decade ago, is now a done deal. If Turkey was to continue such a tilt, the danger of them having F-35's would be in the future possibility of Russians gaining its technical and performance specs. Furthermore, this reaction would continue to reinforce the message that US has certain expectations from its partners.
 
Last edited:

SolarWind

Active Member
Just a tought..
As for EU..reading some Turkish media and forums..the support in Turkish population to be part of EU already much decreasing even with the opposition suporters..Seems even if Erdogan lost power..Turkey will not pursue EU membership anymore (unless it's granted to them under their term)..
NATO seems is the only thing that still bind Turkey to Western alliance..
Turkey will not pursue EU membership because they know EU will not grant it.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Yes, the EU welcome mat is gone. As long as Erdogan is around, Turkey is not worth the effort wrt NATO. He is just another pathetic POS dictator that gravitates to an even bigger POS for survival.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
The way I read it in Turkey Media or Forums (at leat the ones that talk in english)..even in population that are more in Opposition based (thus not only in Erdogan based), which ussually more western oriented..they see that in the eyes of EU, no matter who's in charge in Ankara..they are not going to give EU membership to Turkey.

Ordinarry Turks already see EU will never see Turkey as part of Europe anyway..thus even on opposition sides there are increasing feeling that Turkey must find their own independent way.

The differences is in Opposition based they see Turkey still part of western coalition, whille in Erdogan based incressinglly they see western hostility to them.

That's what I see why part in US administration still want to engage Turkey as part of Nato. Increasing hostility to Turkey will only increasing Erdogan's power..whille the latest ellections actually showing the opposition power increasing. Problem with Turkey now, the opposition is not solid in cause yet. If they solidly behind one caused..just like Malaysia..the opposition can bring down even the strong man/party.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Yes, the EU welcome mat is gone. As long as Erdogan is around, Turkey is not worth the effort wrt NATO. He is just another pathetic POS dictator that gravitates to an even bigger POS for survival.
Is Erdogan worse than the West's allies in states such as Egypt, Saudi, Qatar and the UAE? The leaders of those states are by any definition ''dictators'' too. Those states don't even have elections. And what about Israel; which along with Lebanon is the only democratic state in the region. Israel is a U.S. ally and a democracy but engages in acts such as shooting unarmed protesters on their soil; yet the U.S. - always so concerned about human rights - did nothing. Similarly, the U.S. cries foul every time anti-Assad civilians are killed but keeps largely silent when pro-Assad civilians are killed.

Irrespective of how one feels about Turkey or Erdogan; things have changed. Turkey is no longer so eager for EU membership like it once was. As for NATO; the fact still remains that NATO needs Turkey and vice versa. Turkey is too important a player to be ignored. Ditching Turkey will drive it closer to Russia. If the West can tolerate and ingratiate itself with dictators with blood on their hands and who don't hold any elections ; why can't it do the same with Erdogan? If the West is going to cut ties with Erdogan over the fact that he's not such a nice chap and pursues policies that are against the interests of the West [Israel and the Gulf Arabs do this too BTW]; the same should be done with other countries. Why be selective?
 
Last edited:

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Is Erdogan worse than the West's allies in states such as Egypt, Saudi, Qatar and the UAE? The leaders of those states are by any definition ''dictators'' too. Those states don't even have elections. And what about Israel; which along with Lebanon is the only democratic state in the region. Israel is a U.S. ally and a democracy but engages in acts such as shooting unarmed protesters on their soil; yet the U.S. - always so concerned about human rights - did nothing. Similarly, the U.S. cries foul every time anti-Assad civilians are killed but keeps largely silent when pro-Assad civilians are killed.

Irrespective of how one feels about Turkey or Erdogan; things have changed. Turkey is no longer so eager for EU membership like it once was. As for NATO; the fact still remains that NATO needs Turkey and vice versa. Turkey is too important a player to be ignored. Ditching Turkey will drive it closer to Russia. If the West can tolerate and ingratiate itself with dictators with blood on their hands and who don't hold any elections ; why can't it do the same with Erdogan? If the West is going to cut ties with Erdogan over the fact that he's not such a nice chap and pursues policies that are against the interests of the West [Israel and the Gulf Arabs do this too BTW]; the same should be done with other countries. Why be selective?
A good question might be, why are they being selective? Simple bad judgement or is something else at play? I've been thinking about this and one thing comes to mind. Erdogan isn't just a dictator, he came into the Syrian mess on the side of the US coalition but is currently de-facto working with Russia and Iran. He changed sides in the current conflict (though his alignment with Russia and Iran is tenuous at best, they're hardly allies). This move might be aimed at punishing a US "vassal", if you will, for not toeing the line. Human right abuses are a convenient excuse, but it seems to me, the real reason might be to send a message to other regional powers that ditching the US, to make independent deals with Russia & Co., and pursuing your own agenda to the detriment of the US, will cost you. But if this is the intent, merely cutting the F-35 sale is not enough. It's a painful move, but not one likely to change the entire geopolitical course of a major country like Turkey.

EDIT: I don't think Russia and Turkey have a relationship close enough for Turkey to share F-35 related technology with Russia. Unless the fear is that the S-400 radars delivered to Turkey will somehow be compromised to gather data and pass it on to Russia, I don't think this is a particularly realistic threat. Not to mention the Turks already have access to many sensitive technologies. At the end of the day they're still a NATO member, even if they have their own geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East.
 
Last edited:

SolarWind

Active Member
EDIT: I don't think Russia and Turkey have a relationship close enough for Turkey to share F-35 related technology with Russia. Unless the fear is that the S-400 radars delivered to Turkey will somehow be compromised to gather data and pass it on to Russia, I don't think this is a particularly realistic threat. Not to mention the Turks already have access to many sensitive technologies. At the end of the day they're still a NATO member, even if they have their own geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East.
It would be absolutely rational for Russia to sell compromised S-400's. At the very least they could have a compromised friend-foe recognition system or some secret vulnerability to make sure Russian military air assets cannot be defeated. And as far as I can tell, throughout history, the sales of high-tech Russian weaponry have always implied and involved some degree of close ties and cooperation, at least at the time of sale and continuing technical support and servicing. It is something NATO simply cannot have wrt Turkey.
 
Last edited:

Ananda

The Bunker Group
Turkey is not Russia allies yet..still far from it..however Turkey is increasingly deemed dangerous for their interest by two nations that have powerfull lobby in Washington..Israel and Saudi.

The way I see it..the increasingly hostilè view by some US congress members toward Turkey not only due to Erdogan actions..but also being push by both Israel and Saudi.

Still, with his tight grip on Turķey..Erdogan only got slightly above half turkish ellectorate...
Turkey economy continue lossing confidence by the market due to Erdogan policy..Erdogan continue bankrolling ambitious projects including defense ones that Turkey can't afford..and have questionable trickle down effect toward Turkey's overall Economics health. In sense if Erdogan continous his policy..it will self destruct Turkey's own economy.
Doing that Erdogan based will continue slipping as this latest ellection shows.

Perhaps this might be one way some part of US admin see it: "Lets not be too hostile to Erdogan..he's going to self destruct anyway".

Afterall Turkey's not Iran or even Saudi or Egypt. There's still genuine oppositions in Turkey that can bring down Erdogan democratically. Western hostility to Turkey only benefited Erdogan's grip on Power.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
In one of his books Robert Kaplan explains how much effort Turkey put into forming a close relationship with the Arabs in the 90’s. The problem was that because of the Turkey’s Ottoman past, when it ruled the region, the Arabs to a large extent still didn’t trust or like the Turks; who then forged a relationship with Israel instead.

Viewed objectively, if Trump can put “America First” can we fault Erdogan for putting “Turkey First”? I suspect that in addition to the lingering resentment they feel about the EU (with Greek lobbying) long denying them EU membership on account of being a Muslim country (they way they perceive it); the Turks feel that they have to do what’s in their best unrest’s rather than just playing a junior role in the Turk/U.S. relationship and within NATO.

Erdogan I’m pretty sure is convinced (like many other leaders) that he’s the one who can make his country “great” (i.e. a regional player with influence that can rival the Arab states and one which has a greater say in things) compared to the past where what Turkey did was driven by the need to maintain good ties with Uncle Sam and the others. It says a lot that he’s willing to risk ties with the West, the Arabs and Israel in order to achieve what he wants.

Unlike the Arabs who have become silent over the Palestinian issue and who are too busy ingratiating themselves with the U.S. and Israel in order to deal with Iran; Turkey is becoming increasingly vocal and I suspect that many ordinary citizens in Arabs countries admire him for saying what their own rulers keep silent about. I’m not sure however how the average Turk feels about Erdogan’s policy over Syria. Sure the average Turk understands the need to go after “terrorists” but will they still support their country’s presence in Syria if it drags on? And if peace breaks out, will Erdogan (with Russian encouragement) reach some kind of mutually beneficial understanding with Assad?
 
Last edited:

SolarWind

Active Member
I would speculate that the S-400 acquisition might be seen by some in the US as a potentially hostile act. Looking at this in the context of the recent failed coup against Erdogan, one might see an explanation. I bet Erdogan and his supporters suspect some degree of Western involvement in the coup and, given NATO's taste for deposing tyrannical dictators, feel need for some kind of insurance. In this context, the purchase of S-400 might as well be meant as a possible deterrent against the West specifically. But this is just a speculation.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
My hunch is that the decision to buy the S-400 was intended to send a message : Turkey is a commited NATO member but it is free to but anything from anyone and will not be dictated to. We can only speculate as to whether the S-400 would have been bought if ties with the West (or the U.S. in particular) weren’t so strained.

We can also speculate whether the Russians imposed any preconditions before agreeing to the sale: not allowing any NATO representative access to the system (during the Cold War visits by senior NATO officers to Indian bases were confined only to viewing Western stuff - whether this was at the insistence of the Soviets is open to speculation), not allowing Turkey to integrate it to any sensors or other systems that are networked to NATO and not allowing the system’s participation in NATO exercises.

Even if NATO allowed it (which it doesn’t) the OEM would have to share source/ object codes to enable full integration and source/object codes from NATO systems would also have to be made available to enable all to “talk” jointly. If I remember correctly, NATO objected to the sale on the grounds that if was integrated to the existing NATO network; source/object codes would have to be shared and thus would entail security risks. Non integration will mean the S-400 will be a stand alone system and in time of conflict this will pose some element of risk; namely with IFF. Of course for NATO the sale marks a precedent; in the future what’s stopping other members from buying Russian? No doubt apart from the security aspects some in the U.S. would rather see Turkey spend cash on a U.S. system.
 
Last edited:

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
My hunch is that the decision to buy the S-400 was intended to send a message : Turkey is a commited NATO member but it is free to but anything from anyone and will not be dictated to. We can only speculate as to whether the S-400 would have been bought if ties with the West (or the U.S. in particular) weren’t so strained.

We can also speculate whether the Russians imposed any preconditions before agreeing to the sale: not allowing any NATO representative access to the system, not allowing Turkey to integrate it to any sensors or other systems that are networked to NATO. Then again, even if NATO allowed it (which it won’t) the OEM would have to share source/ object codes to enable full integration.

If I remember correctly, NATO objected to the sale on the grounds that if was integrated to the existing NATO network; source/object codes would have to be shared and thus would entail security risks. Non integration would mean the S-400 will be a stand alone system and in time of conflict this will pose some element of risk; namely with IFF. Of course for NATO the sale marks a precedent; in the future what’s stopping other members from buying Russian?
One should also keep in mind that Greece purchased the S-300 from Russia circa ~1999, so there already exists some history within that specific region, of NATO members purchasing Russian kit.

As for the attitudes towards Turkey from Western nations, and vice versa, that IMO is quite a bit more complicated and aside from getting into matters which are not strictly defence related but are of a social, political and religious nature, there is also an element of the, "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" conundrum.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Greece also had/has SA-8s, sourced from a 3rd country. Weren’t the
S-300s the ones that originally went to Cyprus?
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Greece also had/has Goas, sourced from a 3rd country. Weren’t the S-300s the ones that originally went to Cyprus?
IIRC the S-300 PMU-1 was originally intended for Cyprus, whether or not they ever actually made it is another story. Looking at the inventory, it appears that Greece has a mixture of NATO and ex-SU/Warsaw Pact-sourced kit.

I find that rather curious, given that Greece is a NATO member though there are a couple of likely reasons. The present austerity measures and economic conditions would certainly hinder spending significant coin on new kit, but it does appear that some of the ex-SU/Warsaw Pact kit was purchased in the late 90's or early 00's. The kit acquired might have been available for very attractive prices given their 2nd hand nature, and/or Greece might have had concerns about potential hostilities with Turkey and how well their NATO systems might operated or been supported if conflict broke out between the two NATO member-states.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
One should also keep in mind that Greece purchased the S-300 from Russia circa ~1999, so there already exists some history within that specific region, of NATO members purchasing Russian kit.
Greece has strong historic and religious, and distinctly anti-Turkish, ties to Russia. I'm not sure this is an appropriate parallel. I think it has more to do with the fact that the S-400 is regarded as the best in its class (whether accurately or not). And Turkey initially was only offered the S-300VM when they ran their tender the first time, leading to an incredible Chinese victory. Perhaps the Turks genuinely want the capability, and are unwilling to bend as a matter of political principle? Especially after they were sorely disappointed by the US in their hopes of a Turkish sphere of influence.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Did the S-400 win on technical grounds [I'm assuming SAMP/T was offered] or was it selected based on political factors? After technical evaluations of all the systems offered; did the military actually shortlist it? My guess is that it was politics; mainly the desire to send the message that Turkey will buy from whoever it wishes too; irrespective of what NATO says and by doing so doesn't in any way compromise Turkey's position as a NATO member. The Turks would have been fully aware that NATO would object to the sale and that there would be political pressure to scrap the deal.

TURKEY ON A ROLL

'Few phobias run deeper in Europe than the fear and hatred of Turks. For at least six hundred years, Europe was locked in innumerable wars with first Seljuk, then Ottoman Turks. My big St Bernard is a descendant of dogs bred to attack Arab and Turkish raiders coming over Switzerland’s St Bernard Pass.'

'There was no stopping the dynamic Erdogan, who was a semi-pro footballer before his full-time political career. By 2003, he was elected prime minister by Turkey’s 81 million people and ever since has proved wildly popular with the majority of Turks. The big city westernized elites in Turkey, who deny their Muslim culture and try to pass for Europeans, bitterly oppose Erdogan and his Islamic allies.'


'Turkey joined NATO in 1952 at a time when the US dominated the continent and Mideast. The Turkish armed forces were the second largest in NATO after the US. Joined at the hip with the US military, the Turkish generals ran the government in Ankara behind a screen of squabbling politicians. The US gave Turkey its marching orders. Turkey’s small but powerful westernized elite was delighted to follow Washington and keep Islam in Turkey handcuffed or exiled to rural areas.'

'Over the past decades, Erdogan and his AK have restored Turkey’s rickety finances, boosted the economy, imposed more efficient, honest government, made peace with the restive Kurdish minority, ended feuds with neighbors, and forced the 600,000-man army back to its barracks and out of politics. The generals and secular bigwigs, who staged 16 coups since WWII, were enraged.'


'Washington has long been annoyed by Erdogan’s independent-minded actions, notably in Syria and Palestine. Israel’s hard right government, now the dominant force in US foreign policy, despises Erdogan for supporting the Palestinian cause. As a result, the US intelligence services, media and Congress are bitterly anti-Erdogan. His warming relations with Russia have further annoyed the US, leading to more anti-Erdogan plots in the military. The US media keeps blasting Erdogan while totally ignoring the brutal dictatorship in Egypt, a major US-Saudi vassal state.'
 
Last edited:
Much of this might not matter if it were not for the fact that Turkey is due to take delivery of the F-35. Here you've got the latest and greatest bit of Western; kit - supposedly a game changer. It is not something that you want anyone but the most loyal ally to have least the secrets escape.

Which means you are immediately confronted with the difficult political decision of whether to cancel the order and explode the whole issue.

Except for that, things might just be able to be left to roll off into the future until it becomes more clear.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Most ''loyal ally'' by what definition and on what basis? If Turkey went out of its way not to do anything that annoyed Uncle Sam [even if this was against Turkey's interests]; would be a ''loyal ally''?

Turkey is a full fledged NATO member. If the F-35 sale is going to be scrapped/delayed/reviewed on account of Turkey not being a ''loyal ally'' or for other reasons; then NATO must as well go ahead and serve notice on Turkey that its NATO membership might be revoked ....
 
Top