Sputnik: What is your outlook on the Trump-May meeting and the future of the bilateral relations amid Brexit?
Salih Dogan: Trump isn’t afraid of criticizing Great Britain and also Prime Minister Theresa May as well. He said that Britain is in turmoil over the Brexit issue even though he supported Brexit actually, and he also demanded [that] Theresa May pump more money into defense. He sends a message that if Theresa May pumps more money into defense then Britain may solve its problems including Brexit, but it’s not the case actually. Also not only does the UK need to meet the NATO target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, they are also trying to push 20% of UK’s defense budget on equipment as well so they meet these criteria. So therefore I don’t think there would be a bigger discussion between the UK and the US, between Theresa May and Trump, on the nation’s defense budget issue, but both Trump and May are facing difficulties in domestic policies. Theresa May seems a weak leader or Trump may call her like this, but Trump is facing difficulties in domestic policies as well, so even though he tries to not send a message as a weak leader, he seems [like] one of them. What I think is they need each other for the future, especially in the post-Brexit UK. So I think one of the reasons of this meeting is both Trump and May are aware that they will need each other more in the near future.
Salih Dogan: When I heard about the NATO meeting I was thinking that one of the bigger topics on the agenda was going to be Turkey just because we can’t really say that Ankara’s turning away from NATO and getting closer to Russia. I think it’s true actually, but it’s not enough. Turkey is actually displacing itself not only from the NATO countries, including the European countries; Turkey was trying to get the EU membership. I can’t say they’re getting closer with Russia because there have been issues in the last few years between Turkey and Russia and it’s quite easy to take it back between these relations if we’re going to call this a better relationship. So I think Trump and also the other EU leaders, the NATO members, should have been focusing on Turkey on this two-day meeting rather than focusing on the defense budget because it seems like it’s only President Trump’s issue that most of the countries can’t meet the 2 percent minimum balance. But it should have been, as I said, Turkey. Turkey is displacing itself from democratic ideas and that’s the biggest problem here, not turning away from NATO or getting closer to Russia. And also Turkey’s a very important ally for the NATO, NATO’s future expectations from the Middle Eastern region especially focus on Iraq and Syria. So yes, Turkey was important, and yes, Turkey should have been the main topic on this NATO meeting and it’s interesting that there wasn’t much discussion about Turkey at this two-day meeting.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.