The US imposes sanctions on Turkey

The US government has imposed sanctions against Turkey. It has banned cooperation with Turkey's defence industry with immediate effect in response to Ankara's purchase of Russian air defence systems. At its last summit the EU refrained from imposing tough sanctions on Turkey over its policy in the Mediterranean. What will happen now?

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Wedomosti (RU) /

Ankara needs a new arms partner now

In Vedomosti, military expert Ruslan Pukhov sheds light on the consequences for the future direction of Nato member Turkey:

“The US measures are forcing the Turkish arms industry to choose its path of future development: so far its vector has been integration into the Western defence 'ecosystem.' A symbol of this was its extensive participation in the programme to build the US 5th-generation fighter, the F-35 - which is now blocked for the Turks because of the S-400 purchase. Now Turkey is facing a total collapse of its previous defence industry orientation. The alternative is obvious: reorientation toward cooperation with non-Western partners. ... The Russian defence industry has a lot to offer for Turkey.”

Habertürk (TR) /

An expensive deterrent

As a Nato member, Turkey never seriously planned to actually activate the 2.5 billion dollar missile defence system, says Habertürk:

“Especially in 2014-2015, when some Nato countries left Turkey in the lurch, S-400 was valuable with regard to the IS and foreign terrorism, as a deterrent and as an argument to force a change of attitude [in our partners]. But nothing more than that. ... However, now that the subject has become a national issue the nation is confronted with the most expensive fait accompli in Turkish history. ... This is one of the sad consequences of presenting foreign policy errors and existential questions and using them to create cohesion in domestic policy.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Biden can only watch and wait

Congress has presented Biden with a fait accompli, Milliyet writes:

“With the sanctions decision of last week, Congress has ruled out the possibility of Biden taking the S-400 issue into his own hands. ... The Biden administration will therefore wait and watch on the S-400 issue. And above all it will listen to the proposed solutions that Ankara puts forward. But if Turkey activates the air defence system, it will signal that it stands behind the sanctions. The main issue here is what steps Turkey will take. However, there are indications that both sides will make efforts to restore a positive dialogue between the Biden administration and President Tayyip Erdoğan.”

To Vima (GR) /

At last someone has taken the first step

To Vima takes a very positive view of the sanctions:

“In particular the ban on arms exports to Turkey has triggered grave concerns and greatly alarmed Ankara. That was clear from the outraged reaction of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu. The timing of the sanctions is of particular significance as it comes right on the heels of the decision of leaders at the recent EU summit to postpone restrictive measures against Ankara until March. ... In that context, it is clear that Turkish President Recep Tayyip's initiative of contacting the European Council President Charles Michel yesterday was hardly a coincidence. Clearly Ankara is convinced that the decision of the US could make it easier for a reluctant Europe to take similar measures.” (BG) /

Erdoğan facing transatlantic opposition says the sanctions already bear the hallmarks of Joe Biden and notes that Erdoğan will have a harder time dealing with him than with Trump:

“Personal contact between Erdoğan and Trump will be replaced by communication at the institutional level. That is likely to limit opportunities for gestures like those made over the past four years, when the now-resigned Attorney General William Barr put pressure on the US-led investigation into Turkey's state-owned Halkbank, which was suspected of evading sanctions against Iran. ... In the last few years, relations between Turkey and the United States have been marked by tension. The change of personnel in the White House, however, promises to bring more of the same.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Washington is dependent on Ankara

With these sanctions the US is endangering an important partnership the pro-government Daily Sabah argues:

“Turkey is already doing almost all of its foreign trade with Russia, China and Germany. ... With its latest sanctions, the US has made things easier for the Turkish state, its only secular ally in the Middle East and the second-largest Nato ally protecting the eastern border of the organization.The new US administration should understand that the old paradigm has now changed. If they want to keep Ankara close, they should shelve the sanctions. Moreover, they should seek a promotion to avoid losing Turkey to Eurasia.”