The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on June 11 authorized the U.S. Air Force to modify six F-35s fighter jets that were sold to Turkey but will be used for the U.S. military. The jets were never delivered to Turkish soil because of a disagreement over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system, which the Pentagon said was “incompatible” with the stealthy F-35 jets.
Faruk Loğoğlu writes: Two plane-loads of medical supplies and a sweetener letter cannot and should not be expected to cure the problem-ridden state of Turkish-American relations. It certainly will not be enough to open the doors of the Federal Reserve to the Central Bank of Turkey. The resolution of the S-400 issue, for better or worse, is the password for any progress.
The U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, has said that Ankara risks sanctions from Washington if it activates the Russian-made S-400s. "We made our position quite explicit to President Erdogan, to all the senior leadership of Turkey, and that is the operation of the S-400 system...exposes Turkey to the very significant possibility of Congressional sanctions, both those that invoke the CAATSA legislation, and additional freestanding legislative sanctions," he said on April 30.
Since the COVID-19 crisis erupted, Turkish Central Bank’s reserves fell nearly 20 billion dollars. Now, the thought of “Can there be a swap line opened from the U.S. Central Bank Fedreserve ?” is in question.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew to express his good wishes for Easter. Trump and Bartholomew were scheduled to meet in May, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting has been postponed to next year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to jointly manage oil fields in eastern Syria's Deir al-Zor region. Erdoğan said Putin was evaluating the offer, which the Turkish president said he made during talks in Moscow last week, adding that he could make the same offer to U.S. President Donald Trump. "Instead of terrorists benefiting here, we would have the opportunity to rebuild Syria from the revenues of this [oil field]," he said.
President Erdoğan has responded to criticism on laughing during a speech he made on the deaths of over 30 Turkish soldiers, saying that it constitutes "a diabolic campaign." During his meeting with a group of Istanbul lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the footage of his speech was screened. "The whole conversation was ironic," Erdoğan said.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham praised Turkey's efforts in Syria's Idlib. "Very much appreciate what Turkey is doing to stand with the people of Idlib, Syria. It is time for the world, including the United States, to declare a no-fly zone over Idlib before the humanitarian crisis escalates," he said.
Pentagon Chief Mark Esper has ruled out air support for Turkey in Syria's Idlib. He also confirmed that he has spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about the situation in Syria and that NATO was prepared for anything that might happen. Asked what he told his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar during their recent phone call, Esper said the message was that "Russians aren't always good partners."
The Pentagon has said that it has no intent nor plans to deploy troops to Syria-Turkey border. The four-star reiterated that while the tangible components of ISIS have been destroyed, the organization remains operational. “We know that ISIS, the caliphate, the physical entity, has been eliminated, but we also know that ISIS as an organization has not yet been destroyed,” Washington Times cited Milley as saying.