“Name Problem” in Turkish-American Relations …

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It was not so difficult to give a name to Turkish-American relations until 2011, even up to 2013, in the history of a bumpy alliance. As a matter of fact, the “strategic partnership” that is pronounced in accordance with the “spirit” of the bilateral relations and the definition formed in this context is a basic indicator of it.

But this naming was more appropriate to the US unilateral approach in which it had given to Turkey at this point rather than an equal partnership between the two actors. As a matter of fact, Ankara was described as the most powerful strategic partner, reised Turkey to the skies while it was accepting whatever Washington says.

Therefore, Turkey “good, good boy” as long as it has not experienced a serious shortage of playing the role of the US in terms of this nomenclature. It contined until Ankara saw the the name of “strategic partnership” is empty and that it meaned a more “semi-dependent relationship”, and in this context, until it asked a common definition from Washington that fits bilateral relations …

With this demand, Turkey understood more clearly what the term “strategic partnership” actually meant. Because it had had a run of bad luck. Moreover, it saw that what was called “strategic partnership” was actually a “shackle”.

It is not new for Turkey in fact. The first confrontation with this cold truth in question goes back to the beginning of the late 1950s, the early 1960s. During the Democratic Party, the deceased Adnan Menderes and his colleagues payed a very heavy price for trying to reestablish the “Soviet Equilibrium” on Turkish foreign policy after they discovered what the friendship with US actually meant.

Moscow meeting in 1960 which can also be called the “First axial dislocation” initiative, was hampered by the US with a military coup on May 27 and ended on the gallows.

Washington sees that the will of the state in Turkey has not changed much during the “Crisis of Johnson letter”, which erupted due to the Cyprus problem, in a time when the axis was put on the right track for the US. As Ismet Inönü’s message to America: “The world is reestablished, Turkey takes its place there.”

Therefore, not many, but just 12 years later, if we start it from the 1947 Truman doctrine in Turkish-American relations, Turkey sees the true face of the US and what the strategic partnership relationship established meant in this context, and tries to get rid of it in the first opportunity.

Short-Life Name: “Model Partnership” …

In fact, with the end of the cold War, this issue comes up once again. Turgut Özal tryes to give a new framework-definition to the Turkish-American relations, moving from Menderes and other experiences. But also died эт unexplained circumstances.

9/11 points to a new opportunity period for Turkey эn this context. The loudly voiced rhetoric “Turkey-Russia-Iran” trio, which started to form in Turkey and its background is being tried to liquidate in the first stage. But the 1 March Message once again shows to the US that this hasn’t be removed. Afterwards is clear; a covered struggle in the field …

The US openly admits it, and the crisis is being asked to be solved with the Erdogan-Bush summit held in Washington on November 5, 2007. Further, the parties want to start a new “strategic partnership” process, but they can’t fully name it.

The new name, however, comes into a question with the new president…The “Model partnership” period starts at the summit held on 7 December 2009 in Turkish-American relations with Barack Hussein Obama, who came to power after Bush. The lifespan of this is much shorter than the previous strategic partnerships. This partnership period ends with the “Gezi Park events” in 2013 and the military coup in Egypt. Since then, bilateral relations have not been given a name. This time, Ankara is more careful and not hasty at the point of putting the name of relations.

The “bizarre” S-400 request from the US…

The situation now exists stems from the fact that Ankara has expressed its determination and demand to its counterparts in Washington in a more powerful way in accordance with the realities of the new world. Because it’s not just the changing world; The process of changing in the US and Turkey has led to the emergence of this demand in a higher way…

In fact, bilateral relations are “friendly”-“hostile” in the process of being called axes. Mutual concerns, threat perceptions, and the problem of trust remain decisive here. Turkey is now once again being accused of axial dislocation by the US in a time when a new world has been established, and further, it is perceived as a threat due to its strategic cooperation with Russia.

The “bizarre” demand from Ankara for the S-400s not to be used against the NATO-Western countries, especially the USA, is quite remarkable in this context.

To remind the US; The S-400s are not an attack weapon, but a defense weapon. If Turkey needs the S-400, it will point to the main source of threat to Turkey. Turkey is not likely to respond to a possible US-NATO attack with slingshot…

The US is aware of what Turkey is doing! If Turkey has said “yes” to the strategic partnership process with the US on the perception of the Soviet/Stalin-borne threat, today it can do a similar one with Russia and others against the US. There’s no more natural reflex than that!

The United States is disturbed by this refleksten and possible consequences. Therefore, they try to pressure Turkey to the fullest. But don’t confuse Turkey with others!

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Born in 1969, Dörtyol-Hatay, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol graduated from Boğaziçi University (BU), Department of Political Science and International Relations in 1993. After completing his master's degree at BU in 1995, Erol was accepted to the PhD program at BU in the same year. After completing his PhD at Ankara University in 2005, Erol became an associate professor in the field of “International Relations” in 2009 and a professor in 2014. Erol worked at the Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) between 2000 and 2006 and and served as the General Coordinator of ASAM for a period. In 2009, he served as also Founding Chairman and Board Member of the Institute for Strategic Thinking (SDE). He is also the Founding President of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies (USGAM) and the President of the International Relations Institute of the New Türkiye Strategic Research Center (YTSAM). Prof. Erol has also served as the Director of Gazi University Strategic Research Center (GAZISAM). In 2007, Prof. Erol received the “Turkish World Service Award” from the Writers and Artists Foundation of the Turkic World (TÜRKSAV), and has received numerous awards for his academic work and his activities in the media. Some of them can be listed as follows: 2013 “Print Media of the Year Award” by the Association of Contemporary Democrats, 2015 “APM 10th Year Service Award”, “2015 Press-Intellectual of the Year Award” by the Writers' Union of Türkiye (YTB), “2016 Volunteer Ambassadors Media Honor Award” by the Anatolian Village Guards and Martyrs' Families, “2016 Türkiye Honor Award” by the Yoruk Turkmen Federations. Prof. Erol has 15 book studies. The names of some of them are as follows: “The United States of Turks from Dream to Reality”, “Türkiye-EU Relations: Foreign Policy and Internal Structure Problems”, “The New Great Game in Eurasia”, “The Search for Strategy in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Search for Security in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Republic of Türkiye-Russian Federation Relations”, “The Cold Organization of Hot Peace: The New NATO”, “Theoretical Approaches in Foreign Policy Analysis: The Case of Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Crises and Crisis Management: Actors and Case Studies”, “Kazakhstan” and “Current Issues in International Relations”. Since 2002, Prof. Erol, who has carried out radio programs such as “Eurasia Agenda”, “Strategic Perspective”, “Global Perspective”, “Analysis”, “File”, “News Desk”, “The Other Side of the Agenda” on TRT Türkiye's voice and TRT Radio 1 (Ankara Radio), made the programs “Arayış” on TRT INT television between 2004-2007, “Beyond the Border” on Kanal A television between 2007-2010 and “Foreign Policy Agenda” on BBN TÜRK television in 2020-2021. Prof. Erol, whose foreign policy column “Arayış” was published in Milli Gazete between 2012-2018, is consulted for his expertise in numerous national and international media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, news websites and magazines. Prof. Erol, who also taught at Gazi University Department of International Relations and Ankara University Latin American Studies Center (LAMER) between 2006-2018, has been continuing his academic career as a faculty member at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University Department of International Relations since 2018. Since 2006, Prof. Erol has also taught in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Ufuk University. The main areas of interest and expertise of Prof. Erol and the titles of his courses at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels in this area are as follows: “Geopolitics”, “Security”, “Intelligence”, “Crisis Management”, “Current Issues in International Relations”, “Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Russian Foreign Policy”, “US Foreign Policy” and “Central Asia and South Asia”. Prof. Erol, whose articles-evaluations have been published in many journals and newspapers, has been editor of academic journals such as “Eurasia File”, “Strategic Analysis”, “Strategic Thinking”, “Gazi Regional Studies”, “The Journal of SSPS”, “Black Sea Studies”. He is currently in the editorial boards of “Regional Studies,” “International Crisis and Political Research,” “Gazi Academic View”, “Ege University Turkish World Surveys”, “Ankara International Social Sciences”, “Democracy Platform”. Prof. Erol, who has been working as the Founding President of the Ankara Center for Crisis and Political Studies (ANKASAM) since 2016, is married and has three children.