Kliman: Turkey's Interim Agreement with China a Flashpoint in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Ties between Turkey and the United States are strong, but there are areas of tension, the most recent one being Ankara's announcement of a provisional agreement with a Chinese supplier for a missile defense system, says this week's guest for Monday Talk.
“Overall, US-Turkey relations have come a long way in a short period, but flashpoints exist,” said Daniel Kliman, senior advisor with the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). “The most recent is missile defense procurement. It was surprising when the Turkish government announced a provisional agreement with a Chinese supplier,” he added in regards to Turkey's statement in September that it had chosen the Chinese FD-2000 missile defense system from China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC) over rival systems from Russian, the US and European firms. CPMIEC is under US sanctions for violations of the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act. Turkish officials have said that the decision on the deal is not final, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was in Washington recently, has said Washington is not concerned about the missile deal between Turkey and China. According to Kliman, another flashpoint in Turkey's relations with the US could be the evolution of Turkish domestic politics. “Since 2000, Turkey has made significant progress in terms of institutionalizing democracy and granting personal freedoms, especially concerning the expression of faith. But the government's treatment of journalists, its handling of the June 2013 protests and new attempts to restrict lifestyle choices have raised concerns in Washington. Americans want to see people -- religious or secular -- live and practice as they see fit. If Turkish society moves away from this, it will become more difficult for Washington to deepen its partnership with Ankara,” he said. Kliman, who leads the Global Swing States Project, which focuses on whether four rising democratic powers -- Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey -- will bolster the prevailing international order, answered our questions in İstanbul.
Daniel Kliman is a Senior Advisor with the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.