Monday, June 17, 2019

A primer on Turk-US relations via Ahval News.

via AN
Turkey has already invested over $1 billion in the F-35 and Mr. Erdo─čan keeps talking about this. What will happen to that money? Is a refund possible?

That is a discussion that our leaders will have at some point in the future. For now, we are taking the necessary slow, measured steps to remove Turkey from the F-35 programme, and protect the long-term safety and security of the F-35, but the issues you mentioned are not fully fleshed out yet, as far as I’m aware. Look, as I said, we haven’t given up yet on working out a solution that works for both countries.

The time frame is very soon…

We gave the deadline as July 31, but if Turkey deploys the S-400 sooner, then we will accelerate the removal procedure. It is Turkey's call, really.

The United States is increasing its partnerships with Greece. Is this a move to replace Turkey?

I do not want to get that far ahead. We hosted the Greek Defence Minister last Friday. We have discussed some expanded troop presence in Greece, some expanded cooperation bilaterally – I’m not sure if it is anything to do with Turkey. We always look to deepen partnerships in the region, especially considering the increasing Russian presence there.

How do you view the People’s Protection Units (YPG)?

Our partners in Syria are the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), which includes some Kurdish forces. Look, we are working with Turkey to resolve that situation as much as we can. We need to stay focused on the fact that we’ve defeated ISIS territorially, but they still stay as a clear and present threat.

We are working to alleviate Turkey's concerns. We have heard their complaints at all levels. We have obviously partnered with some forces that Turkey has displayed its displeasure about.

Now, what we do to maintain our relationship, is we talk to Turkey very often. It is one of our closest allies.

Phenomenal daily contact with Turkey is being conducted in this building. Last time we had such a major crisis was after the coup attempt in 2016, and some again are asking, as they did then, if this is the end of Turkey-U.S. relations. The answer from both sides was an unequivocal "no". We have one of the strongest military-military relationships with Turkey, out of all our partners.

We continue intensive discussions with Turkey on a security mechanism to address their legitimate security concerns along the Turkey-Syria border.  These are bilateral discussions between the U.S. and Turkey. Our engagements to date have been positive and productive.
Ahval News did a great job in this far ranging interview with our Defense Spokesman.  They covered a number of important issues and highlighted many of the irritations that we have with the Turks and vice versa.

Can this relationship be repaired?  I'm really not sure.  I do believe its in no one's interest for this thing to turn sour but this is the hill that both sides decided was worth dying on.

Read the entire article here.

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