By Turkish Heritage Organization, Special for USDR
Turkish Heritage Organization (THO), a Washington based, young non-profit organization that strives to foster a deep and comprehensive dialogue between Turkey and the U.S., held a teleconference to discuss the potential outcomes of Turkey’s election results on Turkish – American relations.
THO Advisory Board Member and Secretary-General of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Dr. Michael Gunter and German Marshall Fund Senior Fellow Dr. Joshua Walker analyzed the future of Turkish – American relations.
Opportunities in Foreign Policy
Dr. Walker noted that German Chancellor Angele Merkel’s visit to President Erdogan, weeks before the elections, had indicated that EU – Turkish relationship will be entering a new phase. “The question is whether this would be a simple ‘transactional’ phase where EU asks for things and works closely with Turkey or will it go back to the period of strong Turkey – EU relations where EU has a larger role,” said Dr. Walker. Emphasizing Turkey’s generous contributions and exemplary hospitality, Dr. Walker said that Turkey needs more support for the Syrian refugee crisis and this issue can be an area for EU, US and Turkey to work together and establish a tri-lateral relationship.
Dr. Walker concluded his comments by saying that “I would argue that [the election results] is a good thing for US – Turkey relations. You need a secure government to deal with the challenges and fight the conflicts. G20 will give some good indication of what the US –Turkey relations will look like”.
Is Turkey Going into the Wrong Direction?
Responding to a question about how U.S. can improve its relations with the new government in Turkey, Dr. Walker said that if we are talking about whether Turkey is going into the wrong direction, that would mean that Washington’s policy was clearly not in the right direction either. Dr. Walker said that accusations in the media in Washington against Turkey for being a “jihadi highway” have polarized and eroded the relations.
Dr. Walker noted that Turkey and U.S. have never been closer because Russia’s involvement in the Middle East is actually a greater incentive for strengthening Washington’s critical relationship with Turkey.
Dr. Walker suggested that the upcoming G20 meeting in Turkey should give U.S. Administration the opportunity show that America wants and needs Turkey to be on the table on all regional issues, primarily Syria.
Professor Dr. Gunter said that Syria continues to be the main disagreement between the U.S. and Turkey and the U.S. is making a mistake by using the Kurds on the ground against ISIS. Dr. Gunter argued that PYD and KRG are not mercenaries and should not be treated as such. Instead, U.S. should stop criticizing Russia’s involvement in the region and seek common ground to work together with all regional powers to bring the civil war in Syria to an end.
SOURCE Turkish Heritage Organization