How has the latest Visa ban affected the Turkey-US Relations?
Recently US President Donald Trump evaluated US and Turkey relation as “so close than ever before” after meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during UN meetings. Only a few weeks later and we are witnessing the biggest diplomatic crisis of recent years between Turkey and the US, only after a few weeks since
Yesterday Washington announced over the weekend that it’s Ankara embassy and other consulates in Turkey have suspended visa services. As a result, all non-immigrant visas were suspended between the two countries. On response, Turkey also took similar actions and justly retaliated against the US decision.
These recent events further add doubts around the US’s commitment to its relations with Turkey. US’s support of the PKK since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, and then its indifferent attitude towards the FETO’s coup attempt has been creating tensions between the two states.Turkey has long complained that Washington is not understanding of the role Turkey plays in the fight against terrorism and does not empathize with Turkey’s sensitive issues.
To improve bilateral relations, the US administration must revisit its commitment toward its alliance with the Turkish government. Demands related to FETO and its actions against the national interests of Turkey in last year’s bloody coup attempt must be taken seriously. It’s been over a year and the US has not taken any steps to extradite FETO’s leader, the minimum Turkey expects from an ally.
Within the context of the recent crisis, the US should respect the investigation carried out on FETO’s conspiracy 17-25 December 2013, and the legal process of prosecuting the arrested Turkish citizen Metin Topuz, the officer of the US Consulate in İstanbul, who met the former police chiefs, Yakup Saygılı, Nazmi Ardıç, Mahir Çakallı and Mehmet Akif Üner and the fugitive former prosecutor Zekeriya Öz to be completed.
Besides FETO issues, in spite of Turkey’s insistence on the Syrian landscape, the US which left the Syrian opposition alone under the “priority ISIS” fighting discourse, has strengthened the PKK’s Syrian extension YPG, which is one of Turkey’s biggest national security problems, by giving military equipment and encouraging them. As an outcome of this, PKK wanted to bring together Kurdish cantons located in the south of Turkey and tried to create a region reaching the Mediterranean.
The civil war that has been in the southern region of Turkey for 5 years has undoubtedly affected Turkey the most. In addition to millions of Syrians who took refuge in Turkey, Asad and ISIS’s artillery shooting, reached the Turkish borders, shown to the world what kind of danger Turkey faced. Turkey wanted to establish a missile defense system because of the developments in the borders. However, the US has been tempted to find other solutions on the Turkish missile defense systems. The US did not react to the S-400 missile defense system agreement with Russia with another ally - Saudi Arabia.
While every step taken by the US regarding Turkey is a threat directly related to Turkey’s national security, after the arrest of Metin Topuz who has not a diplomatic immunity, United States wanted accreditation from Turkish journalist Hilal Kaplan and a following visa ban was imposed on all Turkish citizens. I do not think that the decision of Washington’s ambassador of the Ankara embassy, who is about to complete his terms of office, is a long-standing diplomatic step.
The alliance of Turkey and the United States cannot be sacrificed to any other enemies. I think that a pragmatist leader like Donald Trump is a clever business man who would not prefer terrorist organization like FETO or any other impossible structures to Turkey which is the most significant actor in the region.
Governments and administrators complete their terms of office, they hand over the seat to someone else, but the people of both countries retain their positions. The socio-cultural, political and commercial ties between the peoples of Turkey and the United States are much longer and stronger than those of the governments. Solutions that take into account the common interests of both countries will never end with common sense approaches that are free of momentary reflexes. Therefore we have to make decisions that will allow for tomorrow to be a more livable and peaceful world.