Saturday, January 16, 2021

Will Turkey Be ‘Forced Out’ Of NATO After US Sanctions Ankara Over Russian S-400 Deal?

The US sanctions on Turkey, which has the second-largest army in the 30-member NATO, came on expected lines. The reason forwarded by the US is Turkey’s procurement of the Russian S-400 missile system as Ankara had refused to buy US F-35 fighter jets.

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The move announced by the US on December 15 was condemned by both Ankara and Moscow, and this could prompt Turkey to formally join the other bloc comprising Russia, China, Pakistan as well as Iran. Iran has been reeling under similar sanctions by the US for a long time.

The outgoing US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, reportedly said that “the United States made clear to Turkey at the highest levels and on numerous occasions that its purchase of the S-400 system would endanger the security of US military technology and personnel and provide substantial funds to Russia’s defense sector, as well as Russian access to the Turkish armed forces and defense industry.”

Pompeo also urged Turkey to “resolve the S-400 problem immediately in coordination with the United States”.

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The latest sanctions include a ban on US export licenses, as well a freeze on any assets that are in the US jurisdictions. This move is, therefore, could lead to a conglomerate of all those against the US – the Afghan Taliban, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Russia, China, and Pakistan — as this churning had been on the platter for quite some time now.

Turkey has been at odds with France, Greece, and the Arab states – all in synchrony and had successfully averted its conflict with Russia over the recent war of Armenia-Azerbaijan, which ended in favor of Azerbaijan. While Russia was supporting Armenia, Turkey supported Azerbaijan alongside Pakistan while India lent its support to Armenia.

Turkey-Russia
Putin and Erdogan

India is now totally in sync with the US. Therefore, the US sanctions on Pakistan may be on the cards. But the big question is – since India too is eying the Russian S-400 missile system, will the US impose similar sanctions on India? Perhaps not.

The hard situation on Turkey, which has been supported by Russia in its conflict with Greece, has left France and other European nations fuming. Hence, Turkey leaving NATO might be on the anvil.

Turkey’s ‘exit’ from NATO will be great news for Israel as the Jewish nation had been extremely critical of Turkey’s aggressive posture, especially when Turkey expressed its desire to ‘reclaim Jerusalem’, which was once part of its erstwhile Ottoman Empire. All the Arab states, with the exception of Qatar, are bitter towards Turkey.

How would the future equations look like? There could be two distinct blocs. One will be of the Arab states, which will also include India and Israel. The recent ‘hand-shake’ proposal of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to Qatar was aimed at including Qatar in this bloc.

The idea was to influence Qatar to provide its Al Udeid military base to attack Iran as Pakistan might not be willing to cooperate for the same. There have also been threats to Qatar to make it to comply or else the status of ‘host to FIFA World Cup 2022’ might be snatched too!

In the coming days, China may be seen gravitating towards Turkey, for which Pakistan would be a facilitator, as China will groom anyone against the US. But, India in the new scenario might officially dissociate itself from Russia to keep the US in good humor, particularly after BECA with the US, as it had first signaled in August when it skipped the military exercises in Kavkaz 2020 in Russia. The world may witness the making of new blocs right before US President Donald Trump is to bow out and Joseph Biden is to take over.


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