Sputnik spoke with Umut Ozkirimli; Political Scientist at Istanbul Bilgi University to gain further insight into the situation.
Sputnik: What impact will strained US-Turkey relations have on Syria?
Umut Ozkirimli: That will have a huge impact on Syria; but the question is, will it really deteriorate? They are in the process of deteriorating but as of yet, we do not know the end result. I think after the visit of secretary of state Tillerson, there will be some sort of agreement between Turkey and the United States; mainly for two reasons. The first reason is that there is a real possibility of clashes between Turkey and US forces, and I think that both sides are trying to prevent this.
The second point of course is the simple fact that Turkey and the United States are allies and both members of NATO. In any agreement; let alone a commitment to NATO, I’m not sure we will see a worsening of the relationship between the United States and Turkey, but if we assume that we do, that will have a huge impact on the war in Syria, because then Russia and Iran will be the only main players left on the ground, Turkey will form a stronger alliance with Russia, and there is a possibility of a clash between Israel and Iran; which is not unimaginable.
Sputnik: Could Turkey leave NATO?
Umut Ozkirimli: Officially there is no precedent or exit clause from the NATO agreement, but in theory it is possible. If the Turkish parliament takes the decision to leave the alliance, they can do it. The point is; can they really do it? I suspect not; it’s one thing to end EU membership, it’s another thing when we are talking about NATO, which is a strategic military alliance. This will depend on the extent that Erdogan trusts Russia and Putin; because leaving NATO means that you are defenceless against any aggression by any aggressor.
Turkey doesn’t even have the capacity to defend its air without NATO, so I don’t see this as a credible possibility. The Turks and the Americans will somehow resolve their differences, because the implications of not doing so will be severe.
The views expressed in this article by Umut Ozkirimli are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.