18-07-2024 01:31 AM Jerusalem Timing

Future Regional Map, Where Will US Line Turkey?

Future Regional Map, Where Will US Line Turkey?

Will Ankara regain its US support over oil dispute with Cyprus once it approves the shield’s deployment?

The Turkish government approves on Monday the deployment of early-warning radar in its south east region, as a part of Nato’s missile defense system.

The Nato’s system is aimed at countering ballistic missile threats from Turkey's neighbor Iran, which previously warned Turkey that deployment of the radar at the military installation would escalate regional tensions. However, Ankara insists till the moment the shield is not targeting a particular country, even though it has preferred its longstanding westward orientation via this decision.

After being failed to get an Israeli apology for flotilla attack, Turkey had hoped to receive the backing of the US in pursuing the Cyprus oil issue.

Ankara hoped that, if not outright endorsing Turkey’s position and calling for Cyprus to end its oil drilling in the Mediterranean, the United States would at least turn a blind eye to Turkey’s efforts. However, this has turned out not to be the case, since a U.S.-based company is involved in Cyprus’ drilling operations, and Washington is making clear in a number of ways that it is supporting Cyprus in the dispute. This undoubtedly implies that there is little Turkey can do short of military action to stop the Cypriot government.

On the other hand, Turkey’s relations with the European Union are at their lowest point, and Turkish government already announced it would suspend all ties with the EU when Cyprus assumes the European Union’s rotating presidency in 2012.

Touching the Nato’s stance towards Turkey in this regard, James Stavridis, commander of the United States European Command (USEUCOM) and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), came to Ankara for a "routine visit" last week.

Stavridis arrived in Turkey right after talks in the occupied territories, where the NATO commander had talks with the Zionist Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and other top military officials.

Turkish media speculated that Stavridis was expected to discuss the planned deployment of US radar on Turkish soil as part of a NATO-backed missile defense program designed to protect European allies of NATO against missile threats.


The system, which Turkey had opposed its deployment since 2009, will be deployed in this critical stage of Turkey’s regional destiny, while trying to propitiate the western allies.

For most NATO members, the shield is an insurance policy against a potential missile threat from Iran. For Turkey, however, the Obama administration's plan is proving a major diplomatic headache and is triggering a fierce debate inside the country over where Turkey's core interests lie.

About five thousands of Turks protested last Sunday in the south eastern city of Korijik denouncing the Turkish cabinet’s decision to deploy the missile shield on their land.

In brief, both Cyprus and Turkey see an opportunity in launching an oil dispute right now, but the real challenge will come if Cyprus insists on proceeding, from exploration to actual energy production. Turkey’s options in the confrontation are limited unless it approves the Nato’s shield deployment.

It goes without saying that Ankara tries today to gain West countries’ gratification by deploying the missile shield, in order to have their backing in its oil dispute with the Greek Cyprus.