Ankara- Beijing drawing closer after Turkey’s ejection from F-35 programme - analysts

Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 fighter jet programme could drive the country into China’s arms, a development that may come with serious implications in the Middle East, Breaking Defense website said, citing Israeli national security experts.

Turkey is looking to improve bilateral relations at a time when China is suffering from a trade war with the United States and Ankara is embroiled in a dispute with Washington over its planned acquisition of Russian air defence missiles. During a visit to Beijing earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for cooperation in a wide range of areas, including defence, with China.

“He knows that the Chinese have a very multi-targeted policy. They attach military help with economic interests, and Turkey will have to consider it and accept it,” the article quoted Uzi Rabi, director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, as saying. 

Rabi said that closer ties between Turkey and China will harm Washington’s work in its trade war with China. The United States last year imposed three rounds of tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of Chinese goods as the two countries remain locked in a bitter trade battle.

Relations between Turkey and China should pique very close attention from the United States and Israel, Jacob Perry, former head of the Israeli General Security Service told Breaking Defense. 

Both Erdoğan and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping share a strategic line of thinking centered on a need to change the world order from unipolar to multipolar, Defense News said, underlining that the words “strategic cooperation” appeared repeatedly in a report about the July 2 meeting between the two leaders on the Chinese President’s official website.

Turkey’s strongman was willing to pay the political price demanded by China during his visit this month, Defense News said, when the Turkish side stressed that it would not allow any anti-Chinese separatist activity to operate from Turkey while voicing appreciation for Chinese counter-terrorism efforts.

After years of expressing concern, Turkey even turned a blind eye to the plight of the country’s Uighur Muslims, who are being forced to remain in prsion-like re-education camps, where they are subject to physical and mental torture, among other violations, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Erdoğan positions his country and China among countries that have not gained the recognition and status that they feel they deserve in the current world order, the article said, while pointing to the Turkish president’s plans to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security body composed of China, Russia and four Central Asian nations.