Washington’s frustration with Ankara very real and deep – Kathimerini

Washington’s current frustration with Ankara is a flashback of what U.S. officials felt in the spring of 2003 on the eve of the Iraq War after Ankara refused to authorize the deployment of U.S. troops on Turkish soil, wrote Tom Ellis, editor-in-chief of the English edition of Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

Acting U.S. Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s recent comments on Turkey point to something much more profound and significant the usual occasional statements on the country, the article said.

Pointing out that Shanahan, when asked to comment on Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, drew parallels with Moscow’s “unsafe and unprofessional” behaviour,  Ellis underlined that Ankara has proved a difficult ally for Washington in the past two decades.

Turkey and the United States are currently experiencing several diplomatic issues, including what is being labelled as Turkey’s aggression in the Mediterranean and Aegean, as well its planned purchase of the Russian S-400 systems. Shanahan has sent a letter to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar last week stating that Turkey’s participation in the F-35 programme would end as of July 31 unless it withdraws from its planned purchase of Russian S-400 defence systems.

Washington’s mood is evident in repeated comments made by U.S. diplomats who are cautioning Ankara against continuing with its drilling for hydrocarbon resources in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the article said, noting that an upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka could pave the way for further developments.

All signals from Washington indicate its frustration with Turkey is very real and runs deep, the article concluded.