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Washington — Ankara: relations begin to boil

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demonstrates to the US Congress and Senate that any attempts to punish Turkey for an independent foreign and domestic policy will have certain geopolitical consequences. Paradoxically, the response of the Turkish leader combines the elements of two opposing political discourses. On the one hand, Erdogan appeals to values from the realm of real politics, that is, to the traditional elements of a republican view of the world, and on the other hand, boldly transfers the conflict into a zone of discussion of colonialism, neocolonialism, racism and other aspects that are so close to American and European left-wing politicians.

Perhaps such a strange construction of the Turkish strategy of rebuffing the United States is due to the fact that the attack on Ankara is simultaneously taking place in the real economy and in the sphere of ideology and image. In response to the very real prospect of imposing sanctions against the Turkish state bank Halkbank and practically guaranteed imposing sanctions against some officials from the presidential circle, the threat was again indicated to deprive the US army of access to bases in Turkey: “The decision to close the Incirlik base belongs to us. If it will if we need to do it, then we will close both Incirlik and Kurejik, ”Erdogan said.

In response to the first acceptance by the Congress and then the US Senate of the recognition of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish president promised to recognize the North American Indians as a genocide at the state level and hinted at the possibility of a similar gesture against France, recalling its colonial crimes in Algeria. Erdogan’s promise — “We will reveal that the West is the story of racism and colonialism” — would have looked very organic at a rally of radical supporters Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbin.

However, the matter has not yet reached a full whipping of dishes and a real divorce, and there are no guarantees that all Ankara’s statements are not a bluff aimed at appeasing an internal audience that is very sensitive to issues of national pride, history, and sovereignty. Since Erdogan himself, from the point of view of the political archetype, is a typical macho leader, he should not be weak in principle, so he must respond to every, even a symbolic attack, not to mention sanction pressure.

On the other hand, distance from the United States can give the Turkish leader certain bonuses, and attempts to smooth out sharp corners in bilateral relations are unlikely to bring any long-term benefits. Moreover: the obvious American support for the tourists who tried to seize power in Turkey is probably one of the factors that incline official Ankara to a confrontational position. The reason for an even tougher conflict with Washington can be attributed to a brewing gas dispute with Israel: Turkey blocks the construction of a pipeline from Israel to the European Union, thereby depriving the main American ally in the Middle East of serious additional income and without the ability to compete with Gazprom in the European market.

There is a certain likelihood that sooner or later the number of unresolved problems in US-Turkish relations will grow into quality — and the threats that become on duty to close Turkish bases for the American army will turn into concrete actions. In the era that ended with the election of Trump, Washington always found the strength and wisdom to balance between the conflicting interests of its motley European and Middle Eastern allies in such a way as to ensure the widest possible range of opportunities, but judging by the latest US actions in relation to its satellites, in Washington now there is a certain lack of moderation and ability to reflect.

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