Turkey, US can resolve issues through constructive dialogue, presidential spokesperson says
There is not a “very pessimistic picture” of the differences between Turkey and the United States, however, Ankara believes that the two NATO allies can solve these issues through a “constructive dialogue and by speaking very transparently and sincerely,” Turkey’s Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has told Bloomberg.
The main three issues that harm ties between Ankara and Washington are the U.S. “support” for the PYD / YPG, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Acts (CAATSA) sanctions due to Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400s defense systems and the presence of FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen in the U.S., Kalın noted.
He emphasized that Turkey could not see any progress or action taken on these issues so far and these problems are at the heart of the country’s national security concerns.
Turkey and the U.S. can work together to some extent against terrorism in other areas, for example in Libya and Iraq, and therefore the picture is not “very pessimistic,” he said.
“Our relationship can function in a very constructive way where we can empower each other mutually and can address joint issues or concerns together,” he stated.
“A new strategic outlook means putting more emphasis on having good relations with Turkey because of Turkey’s geopolitical location and Turkey’s standing in the western alliance,” the spokesperson said.
To have that relationship working for both sides, it has to be based on mutual respect and mutual interests, he added.
“The U.S. side must understand Turkey’s national security concerns regarding the PKK. We want to see concrete action by our allies,” Kalın noted.
Elaborating on the issue of S-400s, Kalın recalled that Turkey can have the Patriots as well noting that the Russian systems will not be integrated into the NATO defense system.
Citing the U.S. argument that the S-400s pose a threat to the F-35 jet fighters, he reminded that Ankara proposed to examine the issue from a technical point of view. “They refused and then said it’s not a technical issue but a political issue. OK, so what is the political issue. The fact that we are buying this from Russia? Let’s talk about that and how we can address this issue together,” Kalın stated.
“With Russia, there were some points of disagreement, but we were able to manage all these issues by talking through constructive dialogue, why can’t we do the same with the U.S.? If another country comes to us with a maximalist position and demand you know, it’s either my way or the highway, that kind of attitude pushes you in other directions,” the spokesperson said.
On the process related to the second S-400 package, Kalın said the process regarding the first deal is ongoing and they are all part of the same process. The process of implementing the same agreement at different stages is running, he added.
“We can resolve these issues through constructive dialogue, by being open and candid, but the U.S. policymakers need to understand how serious these issues are for us. They go to the very heart of our national security concerns. Turkey’s S-400 decision wasn’t taken overnight,” Kalın added.
He also said a “new chapter can be opened, a new page can be turned” in Turkey’s ties with Egypt as well as other Gulf countries “to help regional peace and stability.”
“Egypt is an important country in the Arab world and remains the brain of the Arab World, is the heart of the Arab world,” he said.
“We are interested in talking to Egypt on maritime issues in the eastern Mediterranean as well as other issues in Libya, the peace process and the Palestinians. We can address a number of these issues, we can lower tensions and that kind of partnership can help regional stability from North Africa to the eastern Mediterranean,” Kalın stated.