The U.S. got a tough tone with Turkey as Trump exited

The U.S. got a tough tone with Turkey as Trump exited

WASHINGTON – No longer restricted by President Trump’s affection for Turkey’s dictatorial leader, US officials and Congress are using the fleeting days of their presidency to prepare sanctions and crack down on strategic but unreliable allies.

Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has been under administration since its inception. Mr. Trump’s has been the same – and Appreciate it For its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – as government actions in Anjar Abuse of human rights, Captivity Americans And Journalists, And muscular in coping with Syria To Libya For Caucasus For Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

U.S. Also in policy redirection is President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be needed to carefully bring Turkey into the West’s arms and keep forcing it closer to Russia.

Democrat Senator Chris Van Hole of Maryland said that over the years, President Trump has personally paid tribute to Erdogan and Turkey. He said the incoming Biden administration would “be an important investigation into Erdogan’s efforts to expand his influence at our expense, which undermines our interests.”

“There’s a little bit of a big way for Erdogan,” Mr. Van Holen said in a recent interview. “He has to decide – will he be a faithful NATO ally, or is he going to the region alone?”

Congress is ready this week Approval of economic sanctions against Turkey To buy a Russian missile defense system early in Mr. Trump’s term, potentially exposing NATO military technology in Moscow. Sanctions were halted last year after Mr Trump delivered defense systems to Turkey.

According to two people involved in the debate, for the first time and after Ankara tested the system this fall, White House officials have informed Turkish diplomats that the Trump administration will not oppose congressional sanctions, according to two people involved in the discussion.

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Instead, they said, sanctions are part of a warning Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia And other nations that have shown interest in purchasing Russian military equipment.

At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Turkey on several fronts, with one person briefing on his remarks. His statements – against Turkey’s defense purchase, its Exploration of natural gas in disputed waters In the eastern Mediterranean and its Support for foreign forces in external conflicts such as Libya – showed that Mr. Pompeo was fed up with trying to vent the growing tensions between European allies and American legislators.

“We are concerned about some of Turkey’s behavior,” Bailey Hutchison, the US ambassador to NATO, told reporters ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers in Britain. “The idea that you can put a Russian-made missile defense system in the middle of our alliance is out of bounds.”

Is the European Union Weighs its own sanctions against Turkey Greece to avenge separate disputes with Greece, Cyprus and Germany in a decision that could come as early as Thursday, according to a European diplomat in Washington.

Together, Turkey is feeling increasingly isolated, according to a senior government official.

Last month U.S. Basing of a Navy expedition ship The senior official said the Gulf of Sauda off the Greek coast indicated that Turkey was no longer a key US ally in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Abraham’s deal was scrapped by the Trump administration – promoting relations between Israel and the three Arab states, Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, in a Middle Eastern country hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Erdogan has backed the Islamist movement.

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The senior Turkish official also described Mr Pompeo’s visit to rivals in Cyprus and Greece this fall and his subsequent visit to Istanbul with his wife in November instead of meeting with government leaders.

The expected sanctions are guaranteed to Turkey’s hammer Already a tense economy And Mr. Erdogan may be forced to withdraw from most of his military missions abroad. (An exception would be in neighboring Syria, where Turkey is fighting Islamic State militants and American-backed Kurdish fighters; Mr Erdogan considers both groups terrorists and is unlikely to retreat.)

Experts warn that if Mr Biden is not careful, he could push Turkey into Russia’s hands.

“Relations with Turkey will be a major, immediate question for the Biden administration,” he said. Jeffrey said the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq, who retired last month as the State Department’s special envoy for Syria policy and coalition, Islamic State.

“Given the country’s size, location, economic and military might, and the pro-Western sentiment of the population – if not its president – does it make sense to overtake Turkey or push it into the Russian camp?” Mr. Jeffrey said.

He noted that Turkey and Russia are opposing sides in the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. It is also a key NATO ally in Iraq and Afghanistan and opposes Iran’s territorial progress.

A senior Turkish official described Mr Erdogan’s interests as more similar in the West than in Russia. But, he said, the first test will be how the Biden administration approaches the controversy over the missile defense system.

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No compromise is certain. But the Turkish official said Mr Biden’s advisers had indicated in low-level discussions that they were willing to consider compromises, including his proposal. Calling the NATO Working Group To see if Russia could actually penetrate Western military systems through a missile defense system.

A spokesman for Mr Biden’s transition team declined to comment.

The senior Turkish official also said that Mr Biden’s advisers had made it clear that they would connect with Turkey through traditional and technical diplomatic channels – and would not rely on its type. Spontaneous And Straight lines Communication marking the relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan.

The senior official said it was welcome news for the Turks.

Julian E. Contributed to Barnes Reporting.

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