Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tried to have his cake and eat it too by combining the F-35 project with the S-400 missile system, however, the move has resulted in a further loss for Turkey on the regional and international levels, Arab Weekly columnist Khairallah Khairallah on Saturday.
The United States earlier this month removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter programme, following its procurement of the S-400 Russian-made air defence system, which according to the United States could collect data on NATO military operations and undermine their defences. U.S. officials have also threatened Turkey with sanctions if it installs the Russian system.
The Turkish president’s biggest problem is his refusal to learn from his mistakes, the article said, stressing that Erdoğan opted to fall into the Russian trap and have the Russian missiles kill Turkey’s F-35 fighter project.
Instead, it lost out on buying 100 F-35s, the U.S.’ most sophisticated warplanes, as part of a programme it had already invested $1.4 billion in.
Erdoğan failed to learnt from the lesson of nine years ago when he wanted to turn himself into a fierce defender of the Palestinian cause by trying to outdo the Palestinians, a move that ended dismally in 2010 when the Israeli Navy forced the flotilla of ships he sent loaded with foodstuff to Gaza to turn back.
In 2010, the Israeli Navy raided the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla seeking to deliver aid and humanitarian support in defiance of a blockade of the Gaza Strip imposed by Israel and Egypt. Ankara responded by suspending all defence projects and military cooperation with Israel.
Turkey’s strongman continues to fail at improvising in politics, Khairallah wrote.
‘’Erdogan, a believer in the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, did not understand that Hamas, which he supported, was benefiting from the Israeli blockade to control Gaza and its people while Israel was trying to market the image of the Hamas-affiliated masked rebel as the only representation of the Palestinians that Israel wanted the world to see,’’ the article said.
The Turkish president has made great mistakes in neighbouring Syria, missing every opportunity that would have allowed his country to be a regional player, the article said, adding that Turkey’s opportunity was instead squandered in an unholy pact with Iran and by seeking to please Russia.
Many analysts maintain Turkey is drifting away from the West and into the hands of Russia, a development that serves Moscow’s interests and regional ambitions.
By refusing to admit that he can make mistakes, Erdoğan has placed Turkey in an unenviable situation while he himself remains a prisoner of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘’uncreative and inflexible ideology,’’ according to Khairallah.