Mehmet Ali Güller

Erdoğan's bargaining quagmire

21 Aralık 2023 Perşembe

Erdoğan's Neo-Abdülhamid-style foreign policy can be roughly summarized as "cooperating with Russia, using this in bargaining with the USA, and trying to balance both with the EU." We had indicated that Erdoğan's "style" of balancing would not yield benefits on many fronts, instead turning into concessions to many.

Erdoğan's F-16 negotiation is proceeding in this manner. Moreover, the negotiation conducted by Erdoğan is turning into a quagmire, leading to new negotiations.


On his return from Hungary, Erdoğan told journalists on the plane about the details of his phone conversation with US President Biden. According to him, Biden had said: "Get this (Sweden's NATO membership) through your Parliament, and I will do the same with this (F-16 sale) through Congress."

Biden and Erdoğan also discussed over the phone that their foreign ministers, Blinken and Fidan, would simultaneously operate this process.

So, F-16s in exchange for Sweden! But wasn't the government against Sweden's NATO membership due to its "support for terrorism"? Were the names Turkey wants extradited from Sweden sent? No!

We said at the time: What's Sweden's support for terrorism next to the USA? Joining NATO is not Sweden's policy, but the USA's strategy. Therefore, Turkey should have announced it would approve NATO's expansion only in exchange for the USA cutting its support for terrorism.


That is, the barrier had once been attempted to be erected in the wrong place.

Now, they will present acquiring F-16s from the USA in exchange for approving Sweden's NATO membership as a great success before the local elections. However, acquiring F-16s from the USA was not a success, but a fiasco due to this aspect: the USA did not deliver the F-35s Turkey had bought because of the S-400s and also did not refund the money. (However, buying S-400s was not against the contract!)

To salvage its money, Ankara said, "Since I can't get the 5th generation F-35, then let me buy 4th generation F-16s and F-16 kits that make the F-16s 4.5th generation." This is not success, it's incompetence!

It's not over: As I mentioned in the title, once you sit down to negotiate "in this way," imperialism drags you into a "bargaining quagmire," and so it happened.

When the USA made it difficult to give F-16s, Ankara set out to buy the Eurofighter fighter jet from Europe. According to the statement of Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler, the manufacturers of Eurofighter in the UK and Spain accepted Turkey's request, and they are trying to persuade Germany, the other partner that objected.

Here, a new negotiation begins. The joint companies producing Eurofighter are also joint manufacturers of Airbus.

Turkish Airlines announced on December 15 that it would buy a total of 355 passenger planes from Airbus. So, what did Germany, which hesitates to sell Eurofighter to Ankara, namely the owner of both Eurofighter and Airbus, announce on December 19? Germany's state airline Lufthansa will buy 160 planes; 60 from Airbus, and 100 from Boeing in the USA...


There was another topic in Erdoğan's above-mentioned statement. Erdoğan said, "I believe that the positive developments we expect, both in the F-16 issue with the USA and Canada's keeping its promises, will accelerate our parliament's positive view on the matter."

What's the problem with Canada? Canada had stopped selling optical cameras used in Bayraktar's UAVs because these UAVs were used by Azerbaijan against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. Canada also made the sale conditional on Ankara's approval of Sweden's NATO membership.

In short, Erdoğan is completely caught in a "bargaining quagmire." To extract a success story from here, he will make concessions to everyone. Again, it will be our taxes that suffer.

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