F-16 for Turkey - the price of the compliancy of President Erdogan

15:18 01 July Kyiv, Ukraine

As many experts expected, the deal with Turkey took place and the very far-sighted and experienced politician Recep Erdogan got what he wanted, having managed to prove how important Ankara is for NATO.

The first bonus is an agreement with Finland and Sweden on the refusal to support the Kurdistan Workers' Party - an organization that is recognized as a terrorist organization in the USA, the European Union and Turkey. Sweden even gave guarantees for the extradition of 73 members of the PKK, and all because it was vital for the bloc to reach an agreement, and Erdogan of course understood that for his consent, and in the current realities, when any mistake by the West is regarded as a victory for Putin, you can ask for everything or almost all.

The second bonus was undoubtedly the lifting of restrictions on the sale of weapons to Turkey, whose authorities squeezed everything out of the Ukrainian crisis to the fullest.. Erdogan has flirted with Russia by posing as a peacemaker in two rounds of negotiations between the warring parties and has sold Bayraktar drones to Ukraine, which has successfully used them to resist an invasion.

But lately, Turkey has taken a very cautious stance on arms sales to Ukraine and is heading for neutrality, declaring its priority the desire to organize peace talks.. This gives Turkey hope to be on the side of the winner, because if (when) Ukraine wins, Erdogan will declare his victory, because they supplied Bayraktars, if Russia wins, Ankara is back on horseback, because they organized several rounds of peace negotiations and in general for everything good and against everything bad.

Turkey's most coveted bargaining chip has certainly been US President Joe Biden's support for the sale of F-16 jet fighters to Ankara.. The United States has imposed sanctions on Turkey over its decision to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system in 2017.. The US has also excluded Turkey from the F-35 fighter program, saying the plane's electronics are vulnerable to the S-400 and Russia could try to hack it.

Turkey's request last year for a batch of new F-16s is now seen as a chance to restore shattered trust between the allies.

Biden, of course, promised assistance, but not everything depends on him alone, there is still a Congress whose support needs to be enlisted, and everything is not so simple there, except for the Democrats, there are also Republicans who are strong, and there are ardent defenders of the interests of Greece, with which the Turks have long-standing abacus.

There are critics of Erdogan even among Democrats, for example, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez, considers the Turkish president's human rights policies unacceptable and opposes arms-for-loyalty deals.

Given Putin’s statements that Russia’s goals in Ukraine have not changed, it will not be possible to stop the bloodshed in the foreseeable future. The results of the latest summits speak of the seriousness of Western countries to achieve victory over Russia by military means through the hands of Ukrainians, without taking into account the suffering of the civilian population and casualties among the military. On June 29, at the NATO summit, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss clearly outlined her country's position: negotiations with Russia would be possible only after defeating her in Ukraine.

How they are going to win is not specified, but they promise to help as long as it is necessary, at the same time demanding to return the debts. Bloomberg calculated that by September 1, Ukraine is obliged to pay 1.4 billion of external debt and no one has yet considered the possibility of its restructuring.. Given the state of the Ukrainian economy, the main option to pay off debts, according to the country's leadership, is to use the frozen gold and foreign exchange reserves of Russia, although the legal justification for such actions has not yet been found.

Since March 2022, Ukraine has received $6.5 billion in grants and loans, which would seem like a lot of money, but according to President Volodymyr Zelensky, $5 billion is spent on defense alone every month, and it would be right if this money were allocated by NATO.

Now it remains only to wait for the Western partners to move from words to deeds and stop using half measures.