https://ahvalnews.com-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s communications chief called on the United States to unconditionally deliver F-35 fighter jets and Patriot missiles to Turkey.
An argument aired last week that Turkey should send S-400 missiles acquired from Russia to Ukraine in return for readmittance to the F-35 programme is unrealistic but presents a chance to discuss the problems Turkey is experiencing with the West, Fahrettin Altun said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal published on Wednesday.
Turkey, a NATO ally of 70 years and a stabilising actor in critical regions, expects to be treated as it deserves, Altun said. Turkey was removed from the F-35 programme unlawfully and the U.S. refused to sell Turkey the Patriot system when it requested it, forcing it to look at alternatives, he said.
“What the West must do is deliver the F-35 fighter jets and Patriot batteries to Turkey without preconditions,” Altun said.
In “Turkey’s Russian Missiles Could Defend Ukraine” (op-ed, March 18), Paul Kolbe presents a rather creative idea. He argues that Turkey should send its Russian S-400 air-defense system to Ukraine. Taking that step, Mr. Kolbe says, would address Ukraine’s urgent needs and “repair the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey” by paving the way for the sale of U.S. Patriot batteries to Turkey and Turkey’s “reinstatement in the F-35 consortium.” Though quite unrealistic today, this idea presents an opportunity to discuss the problems Turkey has experienced lately with the West.
All U.S. accounts of Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 from Russia appear to omit that Turkey approached America first. The U.S., however, refused to sell the Patriot system. Given that Turkey is in one of the world’s most dangerous and unstable regions, and the threats Turkey faced did not magically disappear with Washington’s rejection, Ankara had to look into alternatives. Former President Donald Trump recognised that while in office. Turkey did not have the choice to buy the Patriot.
Turks still remember how our allies withdrew Patriot batteries from Turkey during some of the tensest periods in Turkish-Russian relations. In light of experience, the Turkish people no longer take seriously any informal pledge by the West to supply the Patriot. Turkey’s unlawful “removal” from the F-35 program over political considerations (of which the U.S. has not officially and lawfully notified Turkey) makes it hard to take seriously the metaphorical carrot of Turkey’s “reinstatement”.
Meanwhile, Turkey designed and manufactured the Bayraktar armed drone, now part of Ukraine’s inventory, despite Western efforts to hinder that process. For example, Canada blocked arms sales to Turkey. The senseless politicisation of defence cooperation among NATO allies reduced Turkey’s dependence on foreign governments and pushed Turkish companies to innovate.
At this point, it is the responsibility of the West and especially the U.S. to normalise relations with Turkey—a NATO ally of 70 years and a stabilising actor in critical regions. The Ukraine crisis has shown that the geopolitical assessments of those who underestimated Turkey’s strategic importance, claimed that NATO was “brain dead” and thought that national borders were no longer subject to discussion were misguided.
NATO membership, expects to be treated by the West as it deserves. It would take confidence-building measures, not so-called informal proposals, to repair the relationship. To build on Mr. Kolbe’s argument, what the West must do is deliver the F-35 fighter jets and Patriot batteries to Turkey without preconditions.