Turkey joins Saudis in showing displeasure over US policy on Syria

Ankara chooses Chinese firm over US, European firms to co-produce long-range air, missiles defense systems.

There is an international failure in dealing with the Syrian crisis, Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said on Thursday.

Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, said in September it had chosen the FD-2000 missile defense system from China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp, or CPMIEC, over rival systems from Russian, US and European firms.

This comes after a recent report that Turkish intelligence head Hakan Fidan had disclosed sensitive Israeli and American information to Iran.

While Ankara, under the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist AK Party, has turned East in an effort to revive its Ottoman past, it has also sought to retain good relations with the West. This balancing act has been hard to keep up, though, as Erdogan has supported policies that run counter to Western interests.

Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The Jerusalem Post that “Turkey has an overall and long-term strategy of building a native defense industry.”

Turkey has for years wanted co-production and transfer of weapons technology – to build them itself and to be given the technology – but the West has refused and China agreed to co-production.

“The Turks are signaling that they are unhappy with the US policy in Syria, by flirting with the idea of building military ties with other powers,” he said.

Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University, told the Post, “It is part of Turkey’s policy to distance itself from the West. “They circumvent sanctions on Iran, play with russia, and support the Muslim Brotherhood.” said Inbar.

The increased strain in Turkey’s relations with the US comes at the same time that Saudi Arabia is showing its displeasure with America’s Middle East policy, with leaks being published in the press describing the Saudi leadership’s frustrations with US policy.

Full article: Turkey joins Saudis in showing displeasure over US policy on Syria (Jerusalem Post)

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