Erdogan is going berserk, throwing Turkey into a spiral of conflict and instability. In a latest, several Greek local reports claimed that Turkey had activated its Russian-made S-400 Air Defense System and tracked Greek F-16 air crafts returning from multi-lateral Eunomia exercise on 27th August. The long-pending sanctions against Ankara may be on their way with the recent activities under the catastrophic foreign policy doctrine of Erdogan. Turkey’s tracking of the Greek F-16’s is the biggest of the series of breach of trust it has undertaken since 2017 with its long-standing NATO ally-the USA.
Just imagine, a NATO member tracking a US-made jet piloted by fellow NATO member (supposed) ally using a Russian S-400 air defence system.This is what Turkey did, and it has not gone down well with the Senators in the Capitol Hill.
Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and James Lankford, R-Okla. (a bipartisan pair of senators), wrote, “Turkey’s recent reported activation of the S-400 system to detect the US F-16 underscores our grave concerns about Russia’s ability to access sensitive data,” in a letter to Mike Pompeo.
These concerns are placed rightly as the tests by Turkey can be directly or indirectly useful for Russia. Many aspects of these experiments can be a source of military observations and may significantly damage the sophisticated intelligence and military edge that the USA enjoys.
Turkey has been at odds with the USA since 2017 when it decided to go ahead with the Russian S-400 instead of the USA Air Defense System. The US has been since hopeful of a divesting of the purchased system.However, the latest developments make it clear that Ankara has no intention of divesting or replacing the system with the USA’s air defence system.
Turkey, earlier last year, around November, conducted tests of the S-400 radars against the US-made F-16s and F-4s. The concerns are mounting that Turkey might do similar tests with the F-35 jets too. This can be disastrous for the USA, as the US Europe Command leader Gen. Tod Wolters said, “You cannot operate an F-35 in the vicinity of an S-400. They won’t talk to each other, and what the two systems will attempt to do, certainly the S-400 against the F-35 is an attempt to exploit the F-35’s capabilities. I can tell you that we aren’t interested in sharing the F-35’s capabilities from a radar perspective, from an operational perspective, with the Russians. We’ve made that very, very clear.”
The visits by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Greece and Cyprus on 27th-29th and 12th September respectively in the backdrop of Ankara’s adventurous brinkmanship was very significant as it sends a signal that the USA will not take provocations by Turkey just because it maintains a base in Turkey. The US will most likely make its bases in Cyprus and Greece–a hub of European and Arabic alliances–debasing Turkey’s importance and dismantling Erdogan’s only bargaining chip.
Turkey under Erdogan is playing a geopolitical game which is so disastrous that no sane mind (leave alone experts) understands what he wants to achieve, and, the only likely outcome seems to be Turkey turning itself into mindless chaos.
Fighting three fronts (Libya, Syria, Southern Caucuses), creating enmity with Eastern Mediterranean NATO allies, challenging Saudi Arabia & the Gulf world, antagonizing Russia& France and irritating India can only be a sure-shot recipe for disaster.
Now, by shedding all the secular credentials, compromising US military superiority, Turkey has confirmed for itself sanctions from the USA in coming days. In addition to this, the European Union is also likely to impose sanctions by the end of 2020.
Ankara wants to re-emerge from its secular skin as the theological Apostolic of the Islamic world and reclaim the Ottoman glory. And from the looks of it, the country will surely starve way before it could fulfil this dream. With the sanctions looming and allies leaving, turkey is looking at a calm before a storm. The EU, NATO, the USA, and others are likely to act as soon as the problem of the pandemic comes under control. The recent development may have destroyed any scope for friendly diplomacy between the USA & Turkey. Erdogan can try all his shenanigans till then, but, the more he tries, the harsher the response will be, and the real suffers will be the good citizen of Turkey.