(This is a translation of an opinion piece published in the Hellas Journal)
The countdown in Washington has begun, as according to information, the Trump Administration seems determined to wash out the stain of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system.
According to reports, substantial sanctions levied by the American administration may soon be on the horizon for Turkey.
Any other decision would be a shame for the United States and its unpredictable president.
Some on the world stage are beginning to feel sorry for the political predicament of the Americans, and among them I recognize some important foreign diplomats.
I sincerely say this, because although Americans are naive in terms of their attitude towards their genuine allies, they have allowed countries like Turkey to play with them.
We are referring, of course, to the much-discussed case of the S-400 purchase by Turkey and the failed attempt by the United States to persuade Erdogan to cancel it. This situation has placed the US in an extremely awkward position for a country that is considered to be the superpower of the Western world.
We have reached zero point, and it is estimated that soon we will know whether we will relive last summer’s drama, when President Trump punished the Turkish economy ruthlessly in a protest against the arrest and detention of American pastor Andrew Branson.
Before being arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Turkish authorities as a purported “terrorist” and agent of Imam Gulen and the Kurds, Branson had been accused of being a propagandist for the Islamic country, which supposedly respects non-Muslim populations.
In actuality, Turkey never respected them, and American citizens such as Pastor Branson had previously made lip service to Turkey on the issue of religious tolerance. Before long, he and American government officials saw the light and their eyes were opened to the real situation in Turkey.
President Trump misspoke in Osaka, Japan last month, and rightfully enough people in Washington dealing with foreign and defense policy and strategy wondered what on earth was happening to him. They even speculated about his mental capabilities.
By attacking Obama on the Turkish decision to buy the Russian super-weapon, he gave an opportunity to real NATO allies and others to wonder if they should also resort to Moscow to get the attention of the American president.
When Trump presented the authoritarian Erdogan as “clean and not corrupt” to the international community, placing all the blame on Obama, it was revealed that his own government had rejected Turkey’s request to get the Patriot missile system and its secret technology.
We were also made aware of something else: that the current US government does not share technology — not even for a pistol. It has not shared its technology even with its most loyal allies, Israel and Britain. So what Trump said in Osaka was simply not the truth. The reverse has happened.
The tough attitude of the State Department, the Pentagon and the Congress regarding the S-400, which incidentally is the right one, should predispose us for a final showdown, but analysts are expressing the reasonable fear that for his own personal reasons, Trump could accept the presence of the S-400 on Turkish soil.
If he does so, he will face a nationwide outcry and send a completely wrong message to America’s allies, especially NATO members.
According to information, Pentagon bureaucrats and the State Department are literally fuming at present. These are the same officials who in the past have passionately supported and justified all the wrongdoings of Turkey. Greece and Cyprus have paid for this deplorable behavior.
So the attitude of the State Department and Defense Secretaries is the key. Based on so many negative statements by the State Department and the Pentagon, any analyst can assume that their resignations will follow if Trump does not respect US laws.
Postscript: According to Bloomberg, which has proven to be absolutely trustworthy on Turkish issues, it is reported that sanctions against Turkey will be announced any day now. It is a good development if the report is true. This move could, and must, save the dignity of America — at long last.