Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu is visiting the USA to meet with his US counterpart, Antony Blinken, as part of the “Strategic Mechanism” established between Turkey and the USA. The two ministers are expected to meet in Washington today. At the meeting, Turkey’s new F-16 request from the USA and Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership will be discussed. The visit comes right after US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kiriyakos Mitsotakis at the White House. Evaluating the visit to the Republic, retired ambassador Loğoğlu emphasized that the “warmth” in the Biden-Miçotakis meeting was not surprising and said, “Taking into account Biden’s past, he always shows his sympathy and interest to the Greek side, and he defended the Greek theses in the Aegean and Cyprus. He maintains this stance. In the conditions of the Ukraine crisis, they show more interest in Greece, because the USA has made a serious build-up on Greece to use it against Russia,” he said.
‘STUNNING RESULT IS DIFFICULT’
Expressing that it is unlikely that a striking result will come out of Çavuşoğlu’s visit, Loğoğlu said, “It will probably be F-16 focused. There may be a rationale for this purchase in line with the needs; but buying an F-16 instead of an F-35 is like buying a vintage car instead of a new one. It is not a bright situation for Turkey to settle for the F-16 in an environment where Greece aspires to the F-35s. It is difficult to come up with a striking result from the visit, but the government, which expects something positive to come out, will consider it as a constructive visit regardless of the result and will try to reflect it to the public in this way. Noting that the US Congress will play a critical role in the sale of F-16s to Turkey, Loğoğlu said, “The administration may approve, but the Congress should not object. It seems difficult for the Congress to take ownership of this sale while its stance on the Armenian issue, Turkish-Greek relations and the Aegean issue is known.”
Stating that the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland will also be a new agenda item in relations, Loğoğlu said, “Turkey’s reasons for opposing the NATO membership of these countries may be justified. However, these justifications were brought up in the wrong place with the wrong timing.” Pointing out that the objections against the membership of the two countries were announced by President Erdogan’s statements, not diplomatically, Loğoğlu said, “If we compare NATO to a poker table, these statements are like playing a conken at a poker table. In domestic politics, a discourse such as ‘we also challenge NATO’ will be tried to be adhered to. But public outcries are hurting Turkey,” he said.