Relations between the United States and Turkey have reached a critical crossroad for the first time since World War Two. These two nations cutting ties comes at a time when many nations are rapidly militarizing and ready to make significant moves on the world stage. If the US – Turkey alliance is officially severed, it would make another country in a long list of countries that are now acting against US authority.
Kim Jong Un continued to act aggressively by launching an ICBM on Independence Day, US – China relations have recently soured over an arms deal the US did with Taiwan, and the US continues to push into Syria, angering Russia and Iran.
With such a growing divide between powerful Eastern and Western nations, alliances are becoming increasingly meaningful. The US wants Turkey to assist them with their occupation of Syria, but Turkey does not want a conflict with Russia. Turkey’s tolerance for US authority seems to be getting thin while their relationship with Russia continues to strengthen.
When asked if he prefered the US or Russia, Turkish President Erdogan said this:
“Don’t make us make such a choice! You have no right to do so! We are Turkey. We develop our relations to America as best we can, and we do the same with Russia. It takes 10 hours to get to America from here, and just two-and-a-half hours to Russia. We have a common sea border with Russia in the Black Sea, and the Russians are in second place in tourism, behind Germany. Perhaps they will climb into first place. Our goal is to increase foreign trade to a level of $100 billion. Our trade volume with the U.S. has dropped significantly. Every country in the world pursues its interests. As do we, of course. Our main supplier of energy is Russia. We are completing the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project together, and we are building the Akkuyu nuclear energy plant together. We hope that it will be finished by 2023. All of that strengthens our relations.”
He is trying to stay diplomatic, but the writing is on the wall. Turkey will most likely favor Russia for economic reasons.
Turkey has already begun to clash with US coalition forces inside Syria. They are beginning to move westward in the same direction as US special forces as well. Since it is very likely that Turkey will take the side of Russia, US forces could soon be surrounded in Syria by unfriendly armies. US coalition and US special forces would be up against Syria, Iran, Russia and now Turkey.
You can see from the map below that most of US coalition forces (I.e. Syrian Democratic Forces or Kurdish YPG) occupy Northern Syria in yellow. However, Turkey and the Kurds have been enemies for a very long time, and the Kurds are now militarizing near the Turkey – Syria border (North Syria). If Turkey decides to take an even more active role in Syria, they would quickly squeeze US-backed forces up against Syrian, Iranian and Russian forces.
A run-in between those armies could possibly ignite the next World War, especially if US special forces are caught in a battle. The complexity and danger of the Middle-East continues to increase, and many powerful nations are waiting in the wings to make their move. With Turkey entering the stage on the side of other powerful Eastern nations, tensions could escalate much quicker. We should all keep our eyes on these developments as they mean so much to the fate of the US.