U.S.-Turkish relations may worsen even with S-400 cancellation

Fraught relations between the United States and Turkey may get worse, even if the Turkish government drops a plan to buy S-400 air defence missiles from Russia, Iyad Dakka said in Business Insider’s World Politics Review.

Regardless of whether or not Turkey backs down, Washington and Brussels will ask more questions about Turkey’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and whether it is really part of the Western club, said Dakka, who is a fellow at the Centre for Modern Turkish Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

In Turkey, bilateral relations with the United States will also be poisoned and provoke more anti-Americanism, Dakka said.

“This fight over Russian missiles could end, but the underlying tensions and frustrations that colour relations and fuel resentment between the U.S. and Turkey may only get worse,” Dakka said, referring to Turkey’s increasing frustration with its historic reliance on the West economically and politically and its efforts to forge new alliances and a stronger regional role.

Turkish officials this week denied reports in the media that the government was abandoning plans to buy the Russian missiles, slated for delivery in July. The deal is done, the officials said in response to claims delivery of the weapons will be delayed indefinitely.

Tensions between the two NATO allies have added to problems for the Turkish lira and the country’s economy, which is in the middle of a recession. The lira has strengthened over the past two days from a seven-month low on speculation the political impasse will end.