On May 2, 2019 waivers for purchasing oil and or gas from Iran expire and Turkey must decide whether or not it will comply with the USA’s Iran Sanctions. This is in addition to the US strongly positioned urging Turkey to cancel the delivery of Russian anti-missile systems to Ankara. Turkey is being pulled by all sides including the EU pushing for them to stand firm. Stand firm on what though? It’s almost as if the EU is ill advising them purposely.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he’s confident the market will remain stable as Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. will ensure an “appropriate supply” of oil along with the U.S. But Turkey is resisting the idea of buying oil from America’s two anti-Iran allies, whose relations with Ankara are fraught after the murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last October.Bloomberg
US-Turkey relations were strained with the whole S-400 missile system debacle, the curious case of Khashoggi was more so used to sway US – Saudi relations spearheaded by Turkey.
Turkey’s President Erdogan thought that he and President Trump would “compromise” on the S-400 issue and discuss other matters in communications.
We are having some resistance from President Trump’s State Department, the Pentagon and even US Congress who no longer discuss matters with us directly.Erdogan in an interview on Turkish Television
It’s evident that Erdogan’s flip-flop aggressive politics, engaging in arms trade with Russia and his disdain for Israel make it really difficult for a fruitful meeting to be set up with President Trump for a one to one discussion and with prospects of achieving any compromise.
During a press conference at the Presidential Palace last week, Erdogan told reporters he is anticipating an invitation from President Trump and that their meeting will aide in finding a solution the current issues that Turkey faces. Erdogan has been saying he is anticipating an invitation from President Trump for a little over a year because in Europe and the Middle East such statements are considered subtle demand to invites and he’s missed the memo that President Trump doesn’t due subtle demands.
The waiver expiration on May 2, 2019 and Turkey not complying infers likely US sanctions on Turkey. Turkey’s insane inflation, foreign exchange reserves dwindling and US sanctions on the horizon are a perfect recipe for crippling the Turkish economy. Erdogan just suffered a major domestic electoral loss. He lost the confidence vote of five major cities. A few weeks ago, his closest associate which was his former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu openly criticized AKP and this past week such actions were responded to by the people of Turkey at the polls.
S-400 and F-35 Debacle
Turkey is a co-producer of the F-35 program and seeks to reinforce their Air Force with them by adding 100 fighters. The Pentagon has made it clear that in any scenario S-400 cannot be joined or side by side with F-35s because the Russian military would then have access to the modernized power system of the 5th Generation fighters.
Erdogan has repeatedly reinforced other situations where other F-35s flew by S-400 and there was no software interference allowing the S-400 to recognize them as friendly craft without issues. S-400 are not created to recognize NATO aircraft as friendly a software patch is necessary.
S-400s exist on Syrian and Norwegian borders. The Norwegian F-35s fly past the missiles and in Syria there are S-400s too allowing Israeli and American F-35s to fly freely. This missile system is able to recognize NATO aircraft as friendly craft and any nation has full control of the software and that our joint committee have determined and created a software solution so the two systems co-exist.Turkish Foreign Minister Tsavousoglou
On April 23, 2019 Alexander Mikheev who is the head of the S-400 manufacturing company said that the order with the missile system to Turkey is proceeding as scheduled and Turkey will be receiving the missile systems from Russia by July. This statement leaves no room to imply that Turkey has decided to re-evaluate the S-400 order and or strongly considered Washington’s ultimatum.
Erdogan’s image as a regional leader and of considerable regional force is on the chopping block according to local radicalized media. Turkey is considered one of NATO’s strongest military allies second to the USA. Does Erdogan comply with the concerns that this order would be considered a threat to NATO systems and thus considered a threat or does he stand his ground and proclaim “independence”.
Washington has rejected Turkey’s proposal on software patches and sees no co-existence of both S-400 missile systems and F-35s in Turkey’s arsenal.
Turkey has recently done an about face on westernizing and Erdogan’s speeches using vocabulary that paints the west as Anti-Muslim heating up Sharia rhetoric indicate that Turkey will most likely stand firm on their choice to by Russian missile systems. This is also most likely since Turkey’s oil re-sell and energy market is heavily dependent on Russia..
During the 99th anniversary of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey both the Foreign Minister Tsavousoglu and Defense Minister Akar told reporters that the discussions of Turkey proposing S-400 missile systems to nations like Azerbaijan or Qatar are delicate and have no room for “intermediate executions”.
Akar made it clear that is the US position on the matter of S-400 and F-35 doesn’t soften and the USA continues down the path of cancelling the F-35 agreement Turkey has alternate solutions.
If the US cancels the F-35 agreement we have short, intermediate and long terms back up plans. Russia has approached us and expressed their favorable intent to have us sell Russian 5th generation fighters too.Turkish Defense Minister Akar
As May 2nd approaches and July draws near for the deliverance of the missile systems from Russia, Turkey is drawing some really hard and aggressive lines with Washington.
Erdogan must decide if he will turn his alliance back the west or will they stand firm in their alliance with IRAN?
Turkey standing firm on their energy deals with Iran can prove detrimental to the EU that are lashing out at the US for demanding NATO nations to uphold the sanctions on Iran. Why? The EU is dependent on their energy from Russia and Turkey. Since Russian sanctions are in place their majority energy trade is with Turkey whom imports most of their oil and gas from Iran. If Turkey does not comply with the Iranion sanctioned they in turn will be sanctioned.
In turn, the EU will either have to recognize and uphold US sanctions against Turkey and cease using them as their primary energy distributor or defy their NATO ally the USA giving the United States the excuse they are looking for to withdraw.
Most recently, Menendez and Rubio submitted a bill to the Senate to curb Russian and Chinese influence in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea. This puts countries like Greece and Italy also one of the eight nations who’s waivers related to Iranian Sanctions end this Thursday. If they no longer purchase oil and gas from Iran then they must rely on Turkey and if Turkey is sanctioned, then Russia would be the more fiscally sound option. This bill would cause harm to such nations and an energy crisis in these two countries that rely on cheap Russian energy and Chinese investments to sustain themselves in an oppressive EU created economy.
The timing of this bill is quite strange and problematic as it indicates people in office attempting to throw a wrench into the administration’s plan to end the onerous and oppressive antics of Iran.
Turkey has two decisions to make:
- Comply with Iranian sanctions
- Cancel the S-400 missile order from Russia
These decisions may impact the membership of the United States of America who is considering withdrawing from NATO. Turkey’s stance and the NATO member countries support of Turkey’s decisions whichever they may be are most likely the deciding factor. After all, the USA pays their fair share and other nations don’t. If non-paying members do not support the USA’s position, NATO withdraw may indeed be the path to follow as it will benefit the #AmericaFirst policy of the Trump Administration.