Impact of the Turkish Election Results on U.S.-Turkey Relations

On June 26, THO hosted a panel discussion on the “Impact of the Turkish Election Results on U.S.-Turkey Relations.”

THO Panel – Impact of the Turkish Election Results on U.S. – Turkey Relations (June 26, 2018)

28 Jun 18

On June 26, THO hosted a panel discussion on the “Impact of the Turkish Election Results on U.S.-Turkey Relations.”

The discussion was moderated by Hologram Network President, Merve Hande Akmehmet and featured the following speakers: 

  • Dr. William J. Parker III – Chief Operating Officer, EastWest Institute 
  • Defne Sadiklar-Arslan – Director, Atlantic Council in Turkey
  • Luke Coffey – Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy, The Heritage Foundation
  • Paul McCarthy – Regional Deputy Director of Europe, International Republican Institute
Analysing the results

Merve Hande Akmehmet began the discussion by providing an overview of the elections results, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan winning the presidential election, receiving nearly 53% of the vote. In parliament, the AK party maintained its majority, with CHP, HDP, MHP and IYI parties all crossing the 10% threshold allowing for seats in parliament. Regarding these results, Paul McCarthy explained that Erdogan’s victory was not all that surprising, given that he was polling around 53% just before the election. However Mr. McCarthy also stated that he was surprised by the number of votes for the MHP party, which were higher than expected. Furthemore, McCarthy noted that the AK party also received a majority of media coverage before the election. 

The state of emergency after the elections

Regarding the current state of emergency in Turkey, which President Erdogan has promised to remove after winning the election, Defne Sadiklar-Arslan explained that this state of emergency is crippling economic growth in Turkey and that the poor state of the economy is one of the biggest challenges that Turkey currently faces. She also advised for economic reforms in this post-election period, which would allow for a removal of the state of emergency in the future.

U.S.-Turkey relations in Syria 

Dr. William J. Parker III told the audience that he is optimistic about the future relationship between the U.S. and Turkey. Dr. Parker commended Turkey for their handling of the refugee crisis and also applauded President Erdogan and President Trump for their commitment to strengthening bilateral relationship. Echoing these comments, Mr. McCarthy explained that President Erdogan’s election victory allows for a continuation of the agreed-upon military cooperation between U.S. and Turkish forces in Manbij, Syria. 

F-35 and S-400 crisis

Luke Coffey explained his skepticism on Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system, stating “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Mr. Coffey also clarified that efforts from the U.S. Congress to prevent the sale of F-35s to Turkey may be detrimental, given that Turkey has already contributed around $200 million toward the production of F-35s. Furthermore, Mr. Coffey noted that Turkey already has reason to be upset with the U.S. due to long-standing American military cooperation in Syria with what Turkey recognizes as a terrorist group. Mr. Coffey stated his belief that both the U.S. and Turkey could do more to understand each other's concerns. 

The future of the U.S.-Turkey relationship

All of our panelists were in agreement that U.S.-Turkey relations would strengthen during this post-election period. However, the panelists were also in agreement that there are still many undetermined factors that will impact the future of U.S.-Turkey relations, such as how the state of Turkey’s economy will be affected by the Trump administration’s trade tariffs, or how Turkey will react to potential F-35 sanctions from the U.S. Congress.

Impact of the Turkish Election Results on U.S. – Turkey Relations (June 26, 2018) - Summary

28 Jun 18

On June 26, THO hosted a panel discussion on the “Impact of the Turkish Election Results on U.S.-Turkey Relations.

Watch Full Event on: https://youtu.be/BNDdvcQmH-U