Turkey can be left without American arms, The Financial Times wrote on August 16 with reference to high-ranking officials of the US administration.
US President Barack Obama, the newspaper wrote, stated during his recent meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey had not been acting like an ally lately. Obama particularly criticized Turkey's support of Iran and its conflict with Israel connected with departure of the Freedom Flotilla incident.
Obama also stated that it would be difficult for him to convince the Congress to comply with a number of requests from the government of Turkey, particularly the request pertaining to arms shipments to Turkey for the struggle against Kurdish separatists.
First and foremost, Obama's remarks touch upon the deliveries of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft to Turkey. The latter has been using the planes in the struggle against Kurdish rebels.
It became Obama's second warning to the head of the Turkish government. The previous one was made in June of this year, after Turkey voted at the United Nations against the introduction of extra sanctions against Iran.
Afterwards, Obama attempted to hold an "educational conversation" with Erdogan, during the G20 summit in Toronto. The US administration believed that it was inappropriate of Turkey to support Iran since Turkey traditionally acts as an ally of the United States. In addition, the US president urged the Turkish leadership not to aggravate the situation with the detention of Freedom Flotilla by Israel, even if Turkey had contributed considerably in its organization.
The scandal makes one think again about the future cooperation between Washington, Ankara and Tel Aviv. The actions, which the Turkish administration has been taking during the recent several years, have given rise to serious concerns in Israel and he United States. Turkey increasingly criticizes Israel for committing "acts of violence" in Palestine. The recent incident with the Freedom Flotilla showed that Turkey was taking an active part in hostile actions against Israel.
To add more fuel to the fire, Ankara has taken a number of steps to become closer to Teheran, USA's sworn enemy. The Turkish administration condemns the West for its aspiration to put and end to the Iranian nuclear program through sanctions. There is another issue which poisons the relations between the two old-time allies - the Kurdish question. Turkey wants to suppress Kurdish organizations in Iraq, but the Americans intend to use the Kurds to find allies in the war-torn country.
To put it in a nutshell, conflicting aspects between the United States and Turkey continue to grow in number. Does it mean that the friendly ties between the USA and Turkey are going to become history?
Natalia Ulchenko, a senior specialist with the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Pravda.Ru that there were two different points of view about the subject.
"These include an unfavorable development of events for the USA and a change of Turkey's foreign policy, which is not anti-American. Time will show what is going to happen and which of these two suppositions is true, but I do not think that Ankara has decided to come into confrontation with the United States.
"Turkey has been getting more independent in its foreign policy during the recent years, and its foreign policy is based on the country's national interests, first and foremost. Turkey does not want to follow the West, but prefers to build friendly relations with its neighbors instead. The criticism of Turkey's support of Iran is not quite correct. Iran's complete isolation can only damage the peaceful dialogue," the specialist said.
It is worthy of note that Ankara has been trying to sign a new contract with the USA for the delivery of MQ-9 Reaper drones. The aircraft can both conduct reconnaissance activities and strike Kurdish positions in Iraq. It is not ruled out, though, that the Turkish administration will have to bid farewell to the idea.
Washington in its turn is about to walk into the same water twice. One can give a number of examples, when the US administration tried to put pressure on a foreign state in the form of arms embargo. For instance, the Americans refused to ship F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan and Venezuela and lost billions of dollars of profit as a result of the decision.
Last week, Washington cracked down on Lebanon for the ties of its army with Hezbollah terrorist group. The US Congress suspended arms shipments to the Lebanese army after the recent incident on the border with Israel. Now it is Turkey that can be deprived of American weapons.
As experience shows, arms embargo is not a good solution for solving international problems. As a rule, as soon as the USA decides to terminate defense cooperation with a foreign state, competitors immediately take efforts to fill the gap. For example, France quickly helped Taiwan, and Russia reached out its helping hand to Venezuela.
The story with the drones for Turkey is a little different, though. Tens of countries all over the globe produce unmanned aircraft, although they aremostly spy planes. As for combat spy planes - only a few countries can make them: the USA, Israel, Germany and France (with their Barracuda and Sperwer-B drones).
Taking into consideration the high level of defense cooperation between Germany and Turkey, one may assume that a possible loss of American drones will not be a catastrophe for Turkey. Quite on the contrary, Ankara could use that opportunity to terminate other defense contracts with the USA to the benefit of European producers.