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Turkey withdraws from NATO to the Red Sea

Turkey withdraws from NATO to the Red Sea

Tags: Turkey, Erdogan, Tillerson, USA, Politics, International relations, Analytics, Sanctions, NATO

Turkey has been a reliable member of NATO for almost 70 years, but it seems that it no longer makes sense to stay in the Alliance. This is indicated by the inconclusive visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara. Will Turkey let it go "just like that"? Very doubtful. But Recep Erdogan is getting ready.

De facto Turkey is no longer in NATO

After visiting a number of countries in the Persian Gulf, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had had a four-hour conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, but journalists did not wait for their joint press conference.

This is a statement of the fact that, at the moment, de facto Ankara and Washington are in opposite geopolitical camps. And not only on the Syrian issue - but primarily because of the attempted coup in 2016, which Washington supported and hides assailants.

The policy of the US to support the Kurds in Syria, Erdogan considers a gross insult in his address. Ankara makes no distinction between the Syrian Kurdish militia (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a terrorist organization banned in Turkey, accused of undermining the integrity of the country and being fought with 1980. More than 40 thousand people became victims of this confrontation.

"Ottoman slap in the face"

Relations between NATO's nominal allies intensified after Turkey launched a military offensive on the city of Afrin in northern Syria, trying to stop the attempts of Syrian Kurds to gain a foothold in the region. 14 February Erdogan threatened the US with an "osman slap" (a deadly blow from the Janissary's hand), if the Kurds under his control do not liberate the city of Manbij.

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Kanikli directly demanded Washington to exclude YPG from the alliance of the armed opposition forces in Syria, the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS), supported by the United States. It is unclear, however, how to do this, since YPG is the basis of the SDS. It is not clear how to leave Manbage, if there are American advisers: it would be a direct surrender of their positions in Syria. And what if, in addition to Kurds, Washington does not have any other land forces on Syrian territory?

That is, all of Turkey's demands on the United States are impracticable.

Turkey can not withstand sanctions?

What kind of answer is the Americans preparing? The US still refutes all charges and threatens with retaliatory strikes, including on the "Ottoman slap in the face." This was stated by Paul Funk, the commander of American troops in Syria and Iraq.
Tillerson said in a conciliatory tone that he understands "Turkey's concerns".

But the US has another answer. What, as the reader thinks? Of course, sanctions. Actually, the hint has already been made - after in New-York condemned the banker close to Erdogan, who supposedly helped Iran to bypass the restrictions established by the Americans. In addition, last year the United States suspended the issuance of non-immigrant visas to the Turks, provoking those to retaliate.

In Washington's pocket, sanctions against banks and the defense industry of Turkey. This is written by Mark Bentley on the Ahvalnews website: Turkey's economic situation is characterized by a huge budget deficit (5,6% of GDP), capital flight ($ 341 million only in November-December of 2017) and debts. Net foreign exchange reserves of 32,9 billion dollars and 116 billion of bank reserves are not enough to cover six months of imports (one of the key indicators used to characterize the sustainability of the economy). They also do not provide an opportunity to deal with the repayment of 170 billion dollars of external debt in the next 12 months, Bentley points out.

That is, the strategy against Turkey will be the same as for Iran and Russia. Iran as a result gave part of the sovereignty, Russia - no. Let's see how it will be with Ankara.

Erdogan to create military base in Sudan

Meanwhile, Erdogan is preparing for countermeasures. In addition to the new center of influence - the Russia-Turkey-Iran axis - another one is developing: Turkey-Sudan-Qatar. While Moscow is thinking whether to accept the invitation of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to create a military base in the country, Erdogan will already have access to the Red Sea.

Turkey signed an agreement on the transformation of the island of Suakin - a port in the north-east of Sudan - into a "cultural and tourist center of the country." And she received full administrative authority over the island city, having the opportunity to organize a military presence there. This will ensure its control over the Red Sea and access to one of the busiest transit routes for transshipment of oil in the world (more than 4,5 million barrels per day) - from the Persian Gulf to the Suez Canal.

The presence of Turkey in the Red Sea is bad news not only for Egypt, but also for Saudi Arabia - and hence for the US, because Ankara supported Qatar in a conflict with the kingdom.

Yes, Erdogan may well withdraw from NATO. In addition, he is considering buying a second complex of S-400 MANPADS, and this will not be left without attention of Washington, which can introduce sanctions regime. Ankara will answer it by closing the Suez Canal. Why not, even a verbal threat destabilizes oil quotes.

However, Erdogan is not a trusted ally of Russia. It is Turkey that sponsors the rebels of the terrorist organization "Jebhat-en-Nusra" banned in Russia, who shot down our Su-25 over the de-escalation zone of Idlib and killed the pilot Roman Filipov. It is better for Moscow not to be embarrassed either and to build alternative axes in the region, if Sudan and Qatar do not object.

Lyubov Stepushova
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