95% of Turks oppose alliance with NATO, US

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The Turkish government has clashed with the US and other NATO members on a number of occasions in the past few years, raising questions over Turkey’s membership of the military bloc and future relations with the West.

Sputnik reporter and columnist Suliman Mulhem discussed Ankara’s turbulent relations with the US and NATO with Major General Beyazit Karatas, a retired Turkish Air Force officer who also served as a military attaché in Washington.

“At present, at least 95% of Turkish people are against the country’s alliance with the US and NATO, although Turkish officials have stated they will continue to stay within NATO. In the period ahead we will continue to further develop and diversify our relations considering the US’ policy of supporting a terrorist group which fights against the Turkish government,” the retired air force officer told Sputnik, outlining the growing anti-US sentiment in Turkey due to Washington’s alliance with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is considered by Ankara to be an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)

The PKK has fought a bloody insurgency against Turkey for over three decades, and has been designated a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, and Turkey. Concerns have been raised by Turkey over arms provided by the US to its regional Kurdish allies – namely the Peshmerga and SDF – being found in the hands of PKK terrorists.

The retired major general also warned that the US is providing support to the Gülen Movement, which is believed to be behind the 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

“USA and other Western countries have a two-faced policy towards Turkey as they support forces from the PKK/SDF and the Gülen Movement/FETÖ (CIA-backed terrorist organization Fethullah Gülen) in their struggle against Turkey.”

Turkish authorities have repeatedly called for the extradition of the group’s leader from the US to Turkey.
The retired major general went on to outline Ankara’s improving relations with Russia and said Turkey should continue to “develop” ties with Moscow as relations with the US continue to deteriorate.

“Turkey-Russia relations can be defined as ‘The Sun Rises In The East.’ We must continue to develop our relations with alternatives for the national integrity of our country in all aspects, primarily political, military and economic, and to cooperate with Russia by including our neighboring countries as Iran, Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Lebanon and other friendly countries,” Retired Major General Beyazit Karatas.