The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
US Hopes Arms Deal With Turkey Will Deter Russia, Analysts Say
An F-16C Fighting Falcon of 182º Filo Turkish Air Force in a photo taken in April 2010. (Jerry Gunner/Wikimedia Commons)

US Hopes Arms Deal With Turkey Will Deter Russia, Analysts Say

Ankara is trying to warm relations with Washington after years of tension over purchase of Russian weapons

The Biden administration is working on an arms deal to strengthen Turkey’s air force which would deter a conflict with Russia, analysts tell The Media Line.

Özgür Ünlühisarcıkli, the director for the German Marshall Fund’s office in Ankara, told The Media Line that the war in Ukraine has contributed to a new dynamic for Turkey with the United States, where the US and Turkey are relying on each other to deal with Russia.

“Turkey having a strong air force is important from the perspective of deterrence. But, if there is a war, then of course Turkey having a strong air force would be very important for the war effort,” Ünlühisarcıkli said, adding that a direct conflict with Moscow appears unlikely.

If it doesn’t go through, you’re severing basically the backbone of the modern US-Turkish relationship

US President Joe Biden sought approval from congressional leaders to sell missiles, radars and electronics to Turkey for its F-16 fighter jets, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Turkey will spend more than $500 million on the arms deal if it goes through, Bloomberg reported.

Ünlühisarcıkli said the fighter jets are central to defending Turkey’s territory since a missile defense system would be very expensive.

There were fears of an escalation in 2015 when a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian fighter jet that Ankara accused of entering its airspace.

Ünlühisarcıkli said relations improved between the two NATO allies after Ankara offered to provide security at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. “Before that, Turkey was characterized as ‘our so-called ally’ by the US State Department, but after that, the terminology changed to ‘our valuable ally.’”

Ties with the US have been strained for years.

In 2018, Washington placed limited sanctions on Turkey over its detention of an American pastor, leading to an exchange rate crisis for the lira.

The most contentious current issue between the countries is Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missile defense system.

Ankara has been adamant that it will not return the Russian weapons and, in response, Washington kicked Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter program.

Last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US suggested selling Turkey F-16 fighter jets in lieu of the F-35s it would not be getting.

With Turkey in economic crisis and slipping poll numbers for the ruling party, Erdogan has sought to warm ties with wealthier countries in the hopes of bringing in more investment ahead of national elections scheduled for June 2023.

Biden’s response has been lukewarm.

It took the US president more than three months after entering office last year to hold his first phone conversation with Erdogan.

But the war in Ukraine highlighted Ankara’s value to NATO, with Turkey hosting talks with top officials from Ukraine and Russia.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Biden told Erdogan in a phone call that he appreciated Turkey’s efforts to seek a diplomatic solution, according to the White House.

Ankara also has contributed to NATO interests, including by selling drones to Ukraine that have played an important role in fending off Russian attacks and using its authority under the 1936 Montreux Convention to limit Russia’s access to the Black Sea.

At the same time, Russia’s invasion made clear the security risks the country poses to its neighbors.

Aaron Stein, director of research at the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), told The Media Line the prospective arms deal would help maintain Turkey’s aging air force, which would advance NATO interests in the event of a war with Russia.

He said the F-16 program has been central to Turkey-US relations for decades, and that Ankara would have few options if it decided to approach other countries in hopes of securing a comparable fighter jet.

“If it doesn’t go through, you’re severing basically the backbone of the modern US-Turkish relationship,” Stein said.

However, he warned that the deal faced major hurdles because there are some in Washington who are against it.

US Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, has been vocal in his criticism of Turkey in the past, saying last year that the Anatolian nation has not been committed to the principles of democracy under Erdogan.

“It all comes down to whether or not the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is going to sign off” on the arms sale, Stein said.

 

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
 
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.