CURRENT RELATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY AND AMERICA AND GEORGIA
In the 10s of the XXI century, the aggravation of relations between the Turkish Republic and the United States and the beginning of the so-called "Economic Sanctions", imposed by the United States, had a significant impact on Turkey, whose difficult economic situation directly affected the Georgian economy. As it is known, Turkey is one of the largest trade partners of Georgia, so the economic turmoil in Turkey has a direct impact on Georgia. Moreover, the global Covid-19 pandemic, which closed the borders of countries around the world, has been reflected to some extent in the policies of neighboring countries.
When it comes to security and geopolitics, Turkey primarily relies on its own vision. Its highest and fundamental value is the interests of the state, where the government is responsible for the constant pursuit of benefits, which are aimed at protecting national interests. Consequently, the Turkish government believes that strengthening the position of the Kurds could undermine Turkish statehood, so, it acts proactively to manage risks, often using disproportionate force.
It can be said, that the deterioration of the situation between the Republic of Turkey and the United States since the beginning of the 21st century has been on the agenda of the President of Turkey and his ruling Justice and Development Party. The strengthening of the president's power over the past 18 years, legally enshrined in the constitutional referendum on April 16, 2017, the dramatic growth of both internal and external threats to Turkey, the lack of common goals on a number of issues with Western partners, prompted the Turkish government to desire to strengthen the idea of independence and sovereignty ...
Today, the country's ruling power is trying to pursue an independent domestic and foreign policy that takes into account only the interests of Turkey and does not share the values, goals and spirit of its international partners. Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, which enhances its security and stability. The European Union is the country's main trading partner, on which Turkey's economic development largely depends. It is difficult to say how long will Turkey's eastern policy last in this context, which can be hardly called the guarantor of its stability, since the issue of Kurdistan is one of the main problems. The Kurds pose a threat to the great goal that Turkey is fighting for, although broader tasks also exist around it.
Relations with the West are important for Turkey (that is why it is a NATO member), but at the same time, Turkey sees itself as a geopolitical center, which must create a certain reality around itself. Turkey no longer sees herself as part of an alien reality, as it did during the Cold War, when it was part of the Western space. It wants to play the role of an independent player in its region, which has to enter into serious conflicts with other regional leaders.
Maybe Turkey does not have anything directly against the West, it is just that at this stage their interests intersected, therefore, the fact that Turkey sees itself as a regional leader means that it will not give up its regional interests, despite a possible confrontation with the West and other influential players who are trying to pursue their policies in the Middle East, including the United States. The same attitude is felt with regard to the Syrian conflict and the issue of the Syrian Kurds there. Iran and Turkey also have conflicting interests, because they prefer the same region - the Middle East.
The destruction of US-Turkish relations could have detrimental consequences for Georgia's foreign and security policy. In this case, in all likelihood, Turkey will deviate towards Russia, whatwill lead to an increase in Russia's influence on Turkey, and, consequently, to a proportional increase in Russia's influence on Georgia. Therefore, we believe that improving the Turkey-US and Turkey-NATO relations is very important for Georgia. Turkey is not strategically important for the Middle East policy of the United States and Georgia, but it is possible that with the cooling of relations with Turkey, Washington will view Georgia as a more reliable partner.
Although Georgia does not border Syria, Iraq and Iran, like Turkey, it is an important player against Russia for the United States. In this respect, Turkey is different from Georgia, because Turkey is cooperating to some extent with Russia.“... The United States can view Georgia as a more reliable partner, since it can be said with confidence that Georgia will not turn towards Russia in the near future “.
The question is, to what extent are Russia satisfied with the strained relations between Turkey and the United States? It is obvious that this is beneficial for Russia. V. Putin usually views diplomacy in the context of a zero-sum game. This means that if America loses, it will be beneficial for Russia. 20 years ago, Turkey was a special partner for the United States. Today this is no longer the case, and there is even an active discussion about whether Turkey should be a NATO member. This, of course, is beneficial for V. Putin.
In the face of constant rhetoric and confrontation with the West, Turkey and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan feel that they are on par with Russia in foreign policy, that they have the same weight in the international arena.
However, in fact, V. Putin has much more power in the world political arena than R. Erdogan, and Russia is a much stronger country than Turkey.
At the same time, the confrontation between the two NATO member states (Turkey and the United States) is not in the interests of another country - Georgia. How does the confrontation between Ankara and Washington affect Georgia? How can our country deal with the current situation?
At the given stage, Turkey has become more aggressive in its demands on neighboring, relatively small countries. Georgia must continue to do what it has done so far with great success. Using its close relationship with Washington, it must inform Turkey and Russia that due to its partnership with the United States, it will not be able to fulfill some of their demands.
In the future, problems may arise both with NATO's activities in the Black Sea and with the already complex and protracted process of Georgia's accession to NATO. Consequently, this contradiction can have a negative impact on the external security of Georgia.
In light of the tensions between Turkey and the United States, can Georgia act as a buffer for the United States in the Black Sea region, what has been fulfilled by Turkey for years?
It is difficult to determine to what extent the US Congress is ready at this stage to deepen military ties with Georgia and irritate Russia, although the US is expected to increase Georgia's economic and diplomatic involvement. It should also be noted that no country in the Black Sea region has such a reputation and support as Georgia.
Despite tensions in US relations with Turkey, the US is not expected to harm Georgia's bilateral relations. According to Washington, Georgia's rapprochement with Iran is a more serious problem than the issue with Turkey, especially if Georgia violates sanctions against Iran.
If tensions persist between Turkey and the United States, the last one is expected to impose new types of economic and military sanctions against Turkey.
Turkey, which wants to become a country with a "world-class economy" and a liberal democracy, will inevitably have to forge ties with the United States, which in part requires to clearly define and clarify its foreign policy priorities.
We can say that there has been confirmedthe hypothesis, which is very important for the American-Turkish political partnership, as well as from the viewpoint of the general security of the Black Sea region. Turkey largely controls the Black and Mediterranean Seas and balances Russian policy in the Caucasus. 1.2 million barrels of oil are transported daily across the Bosphorus. Considering the recent US-Iranian relationship, Turkey's support is significant.
Turkey also has its own interests in relations with the United States. It prioritizes strategic partnership and NATO projects. We are talking about economic projects, the strengthening of military units, the existence of US military bases on its territory, which create security guarantees, and so on. Another important factor is the role of the US mediator in its integration with the European Union.
Thus, we can say that at this stage, Georgia is unlikely to face a threat from Russia and Turkey to the detriment of its interests. However, this does not exclude the emergence of this threat in the future, especially if Turkey does not become a NATO member and if it openly goes against the interests of the United States and the West in general. In this case, much will depend on the international context created for this stage and, above all, on the position of the United States.
If the crisis deepens against Turkey, it is likely that certain types of sanctions will be imposed, what will create even greater problems for Turkey, which is already in a difficult economic situation.This, in turn, will cause difficulties for the Georgian economy, since it is our number one trading partner, and tens of thousands of Georgian citizens work in this country.
Georgia understands that geopolitical realities are strong enough and it will not be easy to change them in the near future. International politics has a historical perspective and depth, and Georgia is viewed in this prism. We can talk about the geographical advantage of any state or region, which lies in the geopolitical advantage and faster accession to NATO. Georgia needs strategic patience until a “window”for opportunity emerges, what means a simultaneous shift in the geopolitical context and harmony of political will. If the diplomatic confrontation between the two NATO member states goes to the battlefield, this will negatively affect not only the Middle East, but also Georgia. According to experts, if Turkey turns away from the United States, the natural result will be a rapprochement between Turkey and Russia.
Keywords: Turkey; USA; Georgia.