Turkey seeks 'win-win' relationship with US: Erdoğan
Turkey wants to forge a “win-win” relationship with the United States as mutual interests with Washington outweigh their differences, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 20 while calling for more cooperation with President Joe Biden’s new U.S. administration.
The Turkish-American relations were “seriously tested recently,’’ but the strategic partnership has “overcome all kinds of difficulties,” Erdoğan said in a video message for a program released for the launch of the Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC) television channel TASC TV.
The U.S. did not give Turkey the “desired support and solidarity’’ in fighting the illegal PKK and linked groups, Erdoğan said, demanding a “clear stance’’ from Turkey’s allies.
“We expect a clear attitude from all our allies after the cowardly terrorist attack which claimed the lives of our 13 nationals,” he stated.
Last week, Turkey accused the U.S. of supporting “terrorists” and summoned its ambassador after Washington declined to immediately back Ankara’s statement that the PKK had executed 13 Turkish nationals in Iraq.
Later, Washington sought to defuse the diplomatic row by saying that it accepted Ankara’s claim that PKK had killed 13 Turks.
Both Washington and Ankara view the PKK as a terrorist organization, but the U.S. also backs the YPG group in Syria in the conflict against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
This provides another source of tension between the two NATO allies as Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian extension of the PKK.
Erdoğan also repeated the frustration over the continued residency of Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based cleric accused of orchestrating the bloody 2016 coup attempt.
“We believe our common interests with America far outweigh our differing opinions,’’ Erdoğan said, adding that he wanted to strengthen relations through a “long-term perspective based on win-win.’’
The Turkish president’s conciliatory statement comes after the election of U.S. President Joe Biden whom the Turkish president has yet to have a conversation after the American elections.
The ties between Turkey and the U.S. have been strained over a host of issues in recent years.
Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s advanced S-400 missile system led the former U.S. President, Donald Trump, to impose sanctions on the Turkish defense industry.
Furthermore, a New York court in May will start a trial of Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank over allegedly evading sanctions on Iran.
Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser, İbrahim Kalın and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had a phone call this month marking the first official contact since Biden took office.
Sullivan “conveyed the administration’s intention to strengthen transatlantic security through NATO, expressing concern that Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system undermines alliance cohesion and effectiveness,” U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson Emily Horne said.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the S-400 dispute and other disagreements during their first call. The discussion came after a U.S. statement that raised questions on the authenticity of the news if the recent killing of 13 Turkish nationals was indeed by the PKK, which Turkey openly criticized.