Hişyar Özsoy, foreign policy spokesman for the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), told ANF what the Turkish state can expect in the coming period. He spoke about the influence of Joe Biden’s election victory and the demands for sanctions from the European Parliament against Turkey.
“Sanctions could be imposed”
Özsoy said: “Joe Biden has emphasized several times that, unlike Trump, he will work both with the institutions in his own country and at international level. In the period to come, US-NATO relations will grow stronger. That’s one of the things Biden will tackle. He will also forge close relationships with the EU leadership. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tried during Trump’s time to use the contradictions and conflicts between the US administration and Europe to his own advantage. Biden will end these contradictions and that means that the pressure on Turkey will increase. US sanctions against Turkey have been discussed for two years. Sanctions are also up for debate in Europe. If these debates merge and the West acts as one bloc, it would be possible to impose sanctions on Erdogan.”
According to Özsoy, the Russian S-400 air defense system is one of the most important crisis between Turkey and the US. The Russian weapon systems pose a real threat to NATO’s F-35 aircraft. The US regards the fact that NATO partner Turkey is purchasing an anti-NATO aircraft defense system from Russia as a provocation. “For Turkey, the future US policy on Syria is important, for the US, however, the S-400 air defense system is about a US embargo against countries that buy armaments from Russia. Trump blocked that too. When Biden takes office there will possibly not be sanctions immediately, he will give Turkey time for the first few months. However, the S-400 system is a matter that can lead to sanctions and serious tension in the relationship between Turkey and the US.”
US return to institutional politics
Özsoy is of the opinion that the Kurdish public should not have great expectations about Biden’s presidency: “Biden is not good; Trump was very bad. Because of the disappointments Trump sparked, there is a tendency to glorify Biden. Of course, Biden will still develop more sympathetic relationships with the regional government of Kurdistan and with Rojava. Biden has been a Senator since 1973 and has worked with all US institutions. We will not see any ‘Biden factor’ in the US foreign policy, but we will see the US return to institutional policy. For example, it may be that there is no change in the classic support for US security policy on the Kurdish question in Turkey. As the HDP, we demand at all levels that everyone who can contribute to a democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey should do so.”
Tense relationship with the EU
The HDP’s foreign policy spokesman also spoke about the meeting of the European Council on 10 and 11 December. On the question of whether the European heads of state and government will decide on sanctions against Turkey in Brussels, Özsoy said: “There are many alternatives on the table. To prevent sanctions, Erdoğan said in a speech: ‘We will build our future together with Europe.’ That is a fairly common political populist discourse. Erdoğan fears the debate over EU sanctions. The accession negotiations have been put on hold anyway, and that too is a form of sanction. The question of visa exemption has also been shelved. There was a discussion about modernizing or updating the customs union, but the EU has conditioned that to democracy and human rights. It has now reached the point where there will be no update of the Customs Union in terms of trade relations if there is no progress on democratic, legal and human rights issues. According to the information we have, there is even talk of completely shelving the customs union. That would be a very extreme decision. For this to be discussed at all it shows the tolerance limits of the EU. If the Erdoğan government doesn’t backtrack, relations with Europe and the US will be very tense in the period ahead.”