US envoy Flake hopeful on Turko-American relations

The United States envoy to Türkiye has expressed his hopes for the Turkish-American ties following the Turkish Parliament’s approval of Sweden’s accession protocol to the NATO, a move which will likely prompt the U.S. administration for the sale of the 40 new F-16 jets to the latter.


In an interview with the daily Hürriyet after the Turkish Parliament voted in favor Sweden joining NATO, Ambassador Jeff Flake has evaluated the impact of this vote on NATO’s strength and the future of the Turkish-American relationship.

“As far as relations with the United States, this is something that the U.S. has felt very strongly about: Strengthening NATO. The U.S. Congress has felt very strongly about this as well, so to have this happen is wonderful. I think it paves the way for cooperation and collaboration in other areas like never before. And so this is a great time in a new era,” the envoy stated.


Flake congratulated the Turkish Parliament and the Turkish government for the move which he says improves Türkiye’s security and the collective security of the alliance.

“This means a lot in terms of NATO security. Sweden brings a very capable military and a commitment to collective security, as did Finland. So, to have 32 members of NATO ready to sacrifice, to ensure the security of others, is just a wonderful thing. NATO has been a very successful institution for decades and it is even stronger now,” he suggested.


What about F-16s?

On the Türkiye’s demand to procure 40 new F-16 jetfighters and 79 modernization kits for its fleets, Flake recalled that the U.S. Congress reviews foreign military sales and has a large role in this process.


“President Biden has sent a letter to Congress telling them that he intends to notify. That’s the process that we have – the administration notifies the Congress that it intends to go forward with a foreign military sale. And then, unless the Congress objects, that sale goes forward. We won’t likely be seeing a vote in Congress; that’s not needed. There’s only a vote if there was opposition,” Flake explained.


“I feel good about where we are,” he said, expressing that he is hopeful about the process.


 New chapter in Türkiye-US ties


On a question, the envoy suggested that a new chapter has been opened in regards to Ankara-Washington ties as there is a visible increase in the number of high-level exchanges between the two allies.


“We have our security needs, obviously. With Türkiye’s membership in NATO and our membership in NATO, we have common security needs and counterterrorism goals that overlap. So yes, there is great potential for increased cooperation and coordination,” he stated.


 ‘Our counterterrorism goals overlap’


On a question about the differences, especially in the field of the fight against terrorism, the U.S. envoy has expressed condolences once again for the loss of Turkish soldiers in recent attacks by the PKK.


Stressing that the entire alliance and the world has a “better understanding of Türkiye’s security needs,” and its fight against the PKK, a terrorist organization, Flake said “I acknowledge, the U.S. and Türkiye, we don’t always see eye-to-eye on every issue, but our counterterrorism goals overlap in a number of areas. When there is a difference of opinion, we seek to coordinate and de-conflict our actions and I think that that will only improve as we go forward.”


On a question about the U.S. support to the YPG, a PKK-affiliated terror group operating in northern Syria, the ambassador said “Where there are differences of opinion or where we’re operating in the same theater with the same goal of defeating terrorism, then we try to de-conflict however we can. I hope that we can continue cooperation and have better cooperation in the future.”

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.