President Trump expressed doubts about a number of international standards of the United States. "friendship" this year, attacking the European Union, Japan, and now Turkey. Imposing new tariffs on the country, Trump sent his currency into a free fall on the weekend.
As in the case of EU, Trump's steps provoked a resolute response from the Turkish government. But, unlike the EU, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may not be bluffing when he says that he has realistic alternatives to the United States.
"Before it's too late, Washington must abandon the erroneous idea that our relations can be asymmetric and are consistent with the fact that Turkey has alternatives," Erdogan said. writes in a publication published on Friday the New York Times.
The gap between Turkey and the United States was not unexpected, after years of disagreements over Syria, democratic changes and economic policy. Until now, Western countries still make up most of the investment in Turkey. But as disagreements with Europe and the United States have emerged, Turkey has in recent years worked to strengthen its partnership with other countries, primarily with Russia, China and Qatar.
The increasingly strong ties between Turkey and Russia were hardly a secret in Washington's foreign policy circles. Turkey has long had broader ties with the Kremlin than other US allies in the region who have only recently established ties.
After the unsuccessful attempt of the Turkish coup in 2016, Erdogan stepped up his anti-U.S. and anti-Western rhetoric to rally his supporters. The Turkish leader has repeatedly accused the United States of complicity with conspiracy-coups – accusations that coincided with the improvement of relations with Moscow.
Over the past two years, Turkish officials have also participated in meetings with their Russian and Iranian counterparts to discuss Syria. The fact that the United States was abandoned during the talks shows how far two NATO members have been removed.
"Turkey's drift from the transatlantic union and the move to Russia and Iran have long been their business," said former member of the Turkish parliament Aikan Erdemir, said Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin in 2016, "For the Erdogan, the United States has become irrelevant, because in the Middle East, actions are considered rhetoric, and from his point of view, Washington was more of a conversation than actions."
Turkish anger over US inaction to prevent a single Kurdish state led to the fact that Erdogan's transition was not a staunch opponent of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to his actual recognition of Russian support.
Cooperation in Syria may soon lead to a broader partnership. After, during the weekend, Turkey proposed that he plan to bypass the US tariffs by abandoning the dollar and trading with countries such as China or Russia in other currencies, the Kremlin stated that it was ready to accept this offer.
The problem with this idea is that the creation of such a mechanism will not happen overnight. And although his current dispute with the United States can make Moscow an even more attractive partner for Turkey, lowering their dependence on the US dollar will take time.
A rich nation in the Persian Gulf has long had deep ties with Turkey, with a new official commitment to expand its relations in 2015. Some Turkish troops are based in Qatar, and both countries agreed to conduct joint military exercises. Turkish-Qatari military ties with growing suspicion are among other countries in the region, and their removal is the main requirement of the coalition of Arab countries, which began the blockade of Qatar last year.
However, the ongoing blockade has so far reached the opposite. After Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries stopped shipping food and other goods to Qatar, Turkey immediately sent cargo planes in a movement that resembled some of Berlin The Air Bridge between 1948 and 1949, during which US aircraft delivered goods to the western districts of the city after the Soviets cut off all supply routes. Qatar, in turn, expanded its investments in Turkey. But with Qatar struggling with its own crisis, it is unclear how a tiny country of the Persian Gulf can help its troubled friend.
At first glance, China does not seem to be the ideal partner for predominantly Muslim Turkey, given Beijing's repression of the Muslim Uighur minority.
But China promises Turkey what has long been unsuccessfully looking for with the West.
Efforts by Turkey to join the EU. has never advanced, but China indicated that Turkey would eventually be able to join its own E.U. alternative, Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Last week Turkey and China announced expanded military ties at a time when the future of NATO is less obvious than ever.
Beijing sought to fill the global energy vacuum left by the United States, especially after Trump broke out of trade agreements or raised questions about the future of NATO. And as part of its efforts to create an alternative economic and political order within the framework of the global initiative "Belt and the road" worth 1 trillion. Doll. Over the past 15 years, the volume of trade between Turkey and China has increased 27 times and is about 27 billion dollars. US per year, according to my colleague Adam Taylor,
As Turkey seeks closer ties with China, the feeling seems mutual. "If Turkey fails, it will lead the world to this, Analyst Asia Phar Kim Beng wrote in a recent article for South China Morning Post.