Turkey Likely to lose Membership to European Bloc & Build on Relations with Russia and Iran

  • Turkey to lose Membership to European Bloc and Build on Relations with Russia and Iran
  • Silence of Ankara’s Western Allies following coup attempt in Turkey and failure of US to extradite Fethullah Gulen, US-based Turkish cleric and critic of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogen, is pushing Turkey to re-think its foreign policy with Iran and Russia, according to western media.
  • Turkish sources suggest US, Saudi Arabia and U.A.E being involved in the failed coup attempt. US fueled jets that bombarded the country during the rebellion.
  • A new block is anticipated due this development where Turkey is inclined to build relationship with Iran and Russia, the Russian website RBTH — acronym for Russia Beyond the Headlines— and the US-based analysis website Al-Monitor have noted.
  • The West unhappy with Turkey re-instating the ‘Death Penalty’ and not actively supporting allies with fight against ISIS (Daesh).
  • Turkey likely to lose membership of the European bloc.

A rift has been noted between Washington and Ankara due extradition of Fethullah Gulen, claimed to be the mastermind behind the latest failed military coup in Turkey. The US, allegedly to have supported the coup, has denied all allegations but failed to hand over Gulen to the Turkish Government.

The Turkish PM Binali Yıldırım has warned the Americans that he knew no country standing by Gulen ‘the leader of the terrorist perpetrators’, any country that offered support for the cleric-in-exile could not be a friend for Turkey but offers hostility against the country.

This brought a divide between Turkey and the West, giving Turkey a reason to incline towards the only rivals remaining engaged in fighting the West – Iran and Russia, as per RBTH and Al-Monitor.

The RBTH, by publishing some documents, has focused on the Russian and Iranian backing for the Turkish president against the coup plotters. The Russian website maintained that condemnation of the failed coup attempt by Tehran and Moscow and their support for the legal government of Turkey could present a turning point in Turkey’s spin towards rebuilding good relations with Russia and Iran.

The Russian media wrote that so far Erdogan by supporting anti-Assad forces put Turkey in a proxy war with Russia and Iran, both staunch backers of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, recently, and especially after the coup by the military, and Russian and Iranian support for the Turkish government, it appears that a change in Turkey’s policy and Ankara’s cooperation with Tehran and Moscow could be witnessed soon.

Turkey’s insistence on Gulen’s involvement in the anti-Erdogan coup has made the Americans react, as the US Secretary of State John Kerry commented on the Turkish allegations of Washington’s support for the army mutineers and Gulen, saying that Ankara officials’ claims of US role in the failed coup was absolutely wrong, and it could be severely harmful for relations between the two allies.

The West’s Version against Turkey

On the other side, the unprecedented opposition and criticism of the Western media and officials against Erdogan within a week following the massive purges of the opposition have created deep divisions between Turkey and the West. The Western media began to outcry at the prospects of reinstatement of death penalty by Ankara authorities, calling on the West to cut ties with Turkey, expel it from NATO military organization, and press the government of Turkey to avoid such a decision. This move by Turkey is said to carry the potentials of distancing Ankara further from its ideal of joining the EU.

Besides, diplomatic rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara could be another sign indicating that Turkey is moving away from the West, and reviewing its foreign policy.

Furthermore, the Al-Monitor said that the US-led anti-terror military coalition believed that Turkey did not do its necessary part of fighting ISIS terror group and other Salafist groups in Syria. The website continued that at home the major atmosphere was in support of Erdogan’s pro-Salafist groups’ policy, and that the pressures for policy changes came to the Turkish president from abroad. The recent ISIS’ attacks in Turkey and the deterioration of the Turkish economic conditions, and the high necessity of re-establishing strong relations with Russia and Iran as two significant regional and international powers would force Ankara to amend its policies in the region, especially in the neighboring Syria.

Al-Monitor noted that following the failure of the coup bid, Erdogan quickly reshuffled the list of the foreign friends of Turkey, adding that Russia and Iran had the back of Erdogan during the coup developments.  Just unlike the Western allies of Turkey, Iran immediately slated the coup, and the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made no hesitation to do so. He swiftly condemned the coup attempt via a Twitter post on his account. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also phoned Erdogan. On the other side, the Saudi King Salman who is an ally of Erdogan in Syria two days of the coup expressed condolences to the Turkish president for the victims.

Additionally, some sources close to Iran have suggested that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were behind the coup plot in Turkey in a bid to change Erdogan’s view on restored relations with Iran and Russia. Erdogan himself is not satisfied with the US stances on the coup, and some of his fellow party members accused Washington of backing the coup plotters.

Some reports indicate that the pro-coup fighter jets in Turkish Incirlik airbase, which is home to US jets, received help from the US forces present there, and they fueled from the American facilities.

The US, however, rushed to deny the allegations, arguing that such claims could hurt the two countries’ relations. The EU, on the other side, has blasted the threats by Erdogan to reinstate the death penalty and adopt it on the those involved in the coup, warning that should Ankara brings back the death penalty,  it should forget the bid for membership of the European bloc.

Al-Monitor continued that the US was considering building a new airbase in Iraq’s Kurdistan region as it sought reducing military reliance to Turkey for launching operations in the region.

All of these developments together have the potentials of shifting Turkish policy on Syria, and draw it closer to Russia and Iran.

Finally, Al-Monitor maintained that Erdogan at the current time was facing two choices in dealing with the Syrian crisis: either keeping the status quo and riding the wave of conservative nationalistic support at home or taking trust-making steps to shore up relations with Moscow and Tehran. The advantage of the second choice is making Turkey stronger, and it does not necessarily mean that Turkey backs down from its opposition to Kurds’ bid for independence in northern Syria.


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