After almost two years of difficult negotiations between Turkey and the United States over a request to purchase 40 American F-16 fighter aircraft and about 80 modernization kits, Washington finally decided that the time had come to close the deal. Although the US administration's submission of official notification of the deal to Congress came within the framework of the bargaining process with Ankara regarding the subsequent ratification of Sweden's membership in NATO, in exchange for Washington's move to complete the combat deal, The US objective to pass this deal is actually beyond Sweden's file, even if it has a role to play. The compromise between the two issues ultimately plays an important role.
These intentions began to become visible after the Russian war on Ukraine, when Washington realized the need to reset its troubled relations with Ankara and take advantage of its valuable geopolitical value to the West in its new conflict with Russia. Happened.
Furthermore, the pressure exerted by Washington and European countries on Ankara over the past years, and attempts to punish it for its new geopolitical preferences and its independent tendencies in foreign policy, has been influencing its foreign policies and its relations with Russia. did not succeed. especially.
The most important conclusions to be drawn from the period of great US-Turkish tension over the past decade are that the US abandonment of balanced relations with Ankara and Athens has only increased tensions between the United States' two allies.
In this sense, the West's openness towards Turkey in the last three years was a decisive consequence of the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the weakness of Western pressure tactics on Ankara.
Therefore, the current US move to conclude a fighter jet deal with Turkey is linked to several dynamics in US policy towards Ankara. Chief among them is Washington's efforts to reshape its policy with both Turkey and Greece. It is not surprising that the United States also worked to pass a deal to sell Greece F-35 fighters in parallel with the sale of F-16 fighters to Turkey.
It also highlights how President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent historic visit to Athens prompted the United States to move forward to complete the sale processes in Ankara and Athens.
Whereas Turkish-Greek tensions in the past years have provided an opportunity for Washington to strengthen its presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and strengthen its defense cooperation with Greece to put pressure on Ankara; Due to its geopolitical preferences independent of the West and rapprochement with Russia, this has, in turn, weakened Washington's ability to influence the dynamics of Turkish-Greek tensions. During that period, the United States seemed to be abandoning its historic approach to balancing its relations with Ankara and Athens.
It can be said that the rise of Turkish-Greek tensions to the brink of armed conflict in 2020 reflects a fundamental aspect of Washington's deviation from a balanced approach in its relations with Turkey and Greece. Therefore, the United States' coordination of sales of new fighter aircraft to Turkey and Greece should be viewed from the perspective of its effort to return to a balanced approach.
This return to the balance approach brings great geopolitical benefits for the United States, whether in the context of resetting its relations with an important ally like Turkey, or influencing the dynamics of the new relationship between Turkey and Greece. in terms of maximizing its capabilities, and making them sustainable over the long term, as well as enhancing harmony within the alliance, maximizing the US role in geopolitical competition with Russia in the North Atlantic, and the Mediterranean.
Although the US military presence in Greece will remain a pressure factor on Turkish-US relations, a US return to a balanced approach could help create a new environment in US negotiations with Ankara and Athens.
The most important conclusions to be drawn from the period of great US-Turkish tension over the past decade are that the US abandonment of balanced relations with Ankara and Athens has only increased tensions between the United States' two allies. Returning to a balancing approach creates new opportunities not only for the United States to reinforce the new status quo in Turkish-Greek relations, but also to take advantage of the Turkish-Western turmoil to deepen its partnership with Ankara. This may help in weakening Russia's capability.
If the Russian-Ukrainian war forced NATO to accept the new challenge with Russia by generating a new wave of alliance expansion, it is also important to work on restoring broken relations between alliance members, whether Be it at the level of Turkey and Greece, or at the level of Turkey and the United States. Joint.
Ultimately, both Turkey and Greece remain indispensable allies for the United States, even if Athens appears closer to Western orientation than Ankara. As a result of the turbulent Middle Eastern environment as a result of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and the United States facing enormous challenges to maintain its position and influence in Middle Eastern politics, the importance of Turkey in US policies in the Middle East has increased. Be even greater than before.
For European countries, the US return to the balancing approach between Turkey and Greece also brings huge geopolitical benefits. On the one hand, the US role will be important from now on in maintaining the state of peace between Turkey and Greece and preventing relations between the two countries from once again slipping into a cycle of tension, which has put pressure on Turkish-European relations. In recent years. On the other hand, the development of new relations between Turkey and Greece for cooperation in the energy sector is of great importance for Europe as part of its efforts to distance itself from Russian gas.
Amid Turkish-Greek tensions at the end of the last decade, there was a perception that the United States was beginning to view strengthening its ties with Greece as an alternative to its strategic partnership with Turkey. But Washington's efforts to return to a balanced approach in its relations with Turkey and Greece demonstrate the unreality of this assumption and that the partnership with Turkey is still important to Washington.