Washington: Turkey is Now a Stronger Ally of the West Than Ever

The US has pressed Ankara to limit any circumvention of sanctions against Moscow since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, as well as to allow NATO expansion

Turkey continues to hold fast to The West and its partnership with the United States has never been stronger, even as the countries remain divided over Israel’s war in Gaza. This was stated by the US ambassador in Ankara, Jeff Flake, to “Reuters”.

Flake, who is due to leave office this fall, said Turkey’s approval of NATO expansion and a deal to sell U.S. F-16s signaled Ankara’s tilt toward the West this year and set the stage for a lasting push in trade and investment.

“The strategic partnership has never been stronger and we are in a good place,”, 61-year-old Flake assured.

Washington has pressed Ankara to curb any circumvention of sanctions against Moscow since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, as well as to allow NATO expansion, which ended in January with Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s membership after a 20-month delay.

Flake noted that despite Turkey’s strong economic, trade and energy ties with Russia, the war in Ukraine underscores its commitment to NATO and the West.

Turkey “is perfect in its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,”, Flake stressed, and pointed to the suspension of Russian warships transiting the Black Sea and the delivery of drones to Kiev.

He added that bipartisan sentiment toward Turkey in the US Congress has turned positive this year and will continue regardless of the outcome of the US election in November.

“They hold fast to the West”, the ambassador was categorical.

The main tension in US-Turkey relations in recent years has been Washington’s alliance with the Syrian Kurds, whom Ankara considers terrorists, and Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, which has prompted US sanctions and expulsion from the missile defense program. F-35 fighter jets.

The latest divergence is over the war in Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized “Israeli war crimes” and US support for the operation against the Palestinian armed group “Hamas”.

The US ambassador pointed out that Erdogan’s planned visit to Biden at the White House last month was canceled due to scheduling problems, but it also came at a time when the situation in Gaza had created a “difficult political backdrop”.< /p>

“Obviously there will be differences with the situation in Gaza, it is difficult,” he admitted.

Flake, however, added that Ankara’s close relationship with the political leaders of “Hamas” have provided a valuable conduit during the conflict and in ceasefire negotiations, and that Washington sometimes asks her to deliver messages to them.

The meeting of the leaders of the NATO countries in Washington next month is also an opportunity for a Biden-Erdogan meeting, given that “there is some desire on both sides,”, he also stated.