Sputnik: What's your take on the newly increased tensions between Washington and Ankara?
Kerim Has: US-Turkey relations are going through one of the most difficult periods in their history. It can safely be said that relations have reached an all-time low, and they may get worse in the near future after [next month's] presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey.
Also, we should add here the gradual restoration of Turkey-Russia relations after the crisis of November 2015, which has also left an imprint on relations between Ankara and Washington.
Sputnik: How could all this tension between the two nations affect NATO? The Turkish military structure is embedded with the alliance, and surely the ripples from these tensions will affect NATO as well.
Kerim Has: Of course it will directly affect relations with NATO. Turkey as a NATO ally will probably face [pressure] to choose one side; how the Turkish side will be able to face this task is also a question mark.
The rapprochement between Turkey and Russia in Syria also raises certain questions as to whether the deterioration of US-Turkish relations may turn Ankara and Moscow into allies and partners.
In the longer term, Turkey, the United States and Russia may face an even bigger problem over the Kurdish issue, which may spill outside [its] traditional region. For Turkey, Russia's position on this vital issue is unclear, and the Turkish leadership is pressing for operations in other regions in Syria after the capture of Afrin and during the Euphrates Shield operation.Atilla case, involving an Iranian-born Turkish businessman; the United States is probably planning to implement some sanctions against Turkish banks after the elections. Because the case was recently finalized, [the] Turkish banks are under the risk of some US sanctions.
So the deterioration, in any case, will continue, in my opinion, rather than seeing a normalization. The Turkish side will probably try to persuade the Americans to minimize these economic sanctions. But on the other hand, if the Turkish side [continues] its policy of purchasing the S-400s, it will come to a point where it has to choose one of the sides – Russia or the United States; it will be a hard test for Ankara.
Dr. Kerim Has is a political scientist and professor at Moscow State University. The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Has are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.