Critical 2023 update in the Turkey report of the US Congress

The US Congress updated its report on Turkish-American relations published in December 2022, and statements and evaluations that could have a negative impact on the relations between the two countries were removed from the report.

The US Congress Research Service, published by Jim Zamotti and Clayton Thomas on December 22, 2022 and made some additions on December 30, 2022, “Turkey: Background and USA Relations with Turkey” updated its report on 9 January.

A sign of the change in Washington’s attitude towards Turkey came from the Congress, following the US State’s Spokesperson’s appreciative statements last week, especially regarding Turkey’s constructive role in the Russia-Ukraine War.

The Congress softened the language of its report on the relations between the two countries, which was published in December 2022, and republished the report, removing some details about the problematic issues between the two countries.


While the title “Erdogan’s rule and Turkey’s currency crisis” in the introduction of the December 2022 report was removed from the text, he said, “While the country is facing significant inflation in 2021, despite the conventional economic theories, Erdogan is the center of Turkey’s Central Bank. He pressured his bank to lower interest rates.” The phrase has been removed from the text.

Instead, the statement added that the rise in inflation and the exchange rate was “perhaps partly due to Erdogan’s unorthodox policy of keeping interest rates relatively low.”

“In addition, some observers debate whether free and fair elections can be held under Erdogan, or whether some of his supporters who are dissatisfied with Erdogan will actually vote for opposition parties. Some sources also question whether Erdogan is in good health.” statements were also completely removed from the introduction of the report.


In the section on Turkey’s foreign policy and strategic orientation, “Since joining NATO in 1952, TurkeyThe assessment that Turkey’s foreign policy route is the least oriented towards the West was completely removed from the current version of the report.

“The fact that the AK Party took a nationalist approach in foreign policy due to its alliance with the MHP” and that “Turkey’s being both a regional power and the scene of great power competition in the past” contributed to the nationalist action and discourse in foreign policy, neo-Ottoman narrative. ” claims were not included in the current part of the report.

US President Joe Biden’s characterization of the 1915 events as “genocide” and statements by the US administration emphasizing democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Turkey were also removed from the report.

In the updated text, “Turkey’s future foreign policy course will depend, in part, on the extent to which Turkish leaders feel constrained in traditional security and economic relations with Western powers, and how willing they are to risk tensions or ruptures when forging other global relations.” it was said.

On the other hand, a section was added to the report, which was updated on January 9, stating that the “election results will have little impact on foreign policy”.

The report points out that if anyone other than President Erdogan is elected in the 2023 elections, drawing a different route in terms of nationalist sentiments in the society and political parties in terms of Syria, Iraq, PKK terrorism, Greece, Cyprus, Mediterranean and Aegean problems, and Russia and Ukraine will make the process very difficult. was done.

It was stated that if the opposition wins the presidential election, there may be some changes in domestic and economic policies to a certain extent, and that the newly elected president will not take the risk of making decisions contrary to the West as much as Erdogan does.

In the evaluation, which was not included in the December 2022 report and added later, the following was noted:

“If a new, untested Turkish government feels pressure to show its power to various international actors or to appease voters who are part of the coalition, it may try to match Erdogan’s assertive outbursts. Otherwise, a president who is facing a lack of consensus within the coalition will be more prone to foreign policy. can become passive.


In the report published on 30 December 2022, a comprehensive section was devoted to Turkey’s S-400 purchase. Here, the following 3 claims were made behind Turkey’s purchase of the S-400:

“There is no agreement between the United States and Turkey on technology sharing regarding the Patriot system, possibly with the United States considering other air defense options, including the failed attempt by Turkey to purchase air defense systems from China from 2013 to 2015. contributed to his interest.

Other factors may have played a role in Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 instead of the Patriot. One of these; It is Turkey’s obvious desire to diversify its foreign arms supplies. Another is Turkish President Erdogan’s possible interest in defending against US-made planes, such as those used by some Turkish military personnel in the 2016 coup attempt.

In the updated report on January 9, all of these parts were removed from the text.

In the December 2022 report, Turkey’s F-16 request and Congress’ opposition to this situation were briefly mentioned; In the update on January 9, Turkey’s value in NATO and its importance for Europe’s security in the context of the Russia-Ukraine War were emphasized.

The updated report included the US State Department’s assessment that Turkey is an important deterrent in terms of its support to Ukraine, despite the objections of the Congress.


In the December 2022 report, in the section titled “Strategic Evaluations of the USA and NATO”, it is recommended that the USA increase its military presence in places such as Jordan, Greek Cyprus, Greece and Romania as an alternative to Incirlik, in case of an increase in tension between Turkey and the West, This assessment has been removed in the updated text.

Instead, it was reported that Turkey condemned the invasion of Russia in the Ukraine-Russia War, closed the straits to Russian warships, denied Moscow’s claims on Ukrainian territory, and supplied both unmanned aerial vehicles and armored personnel carriers to the Ukrainian army.

While the December 2022 report did not mention Turkey’s role in Finland and Sweden joining NATO, the updated report did not include the disputes over Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbon fields.

In the December report, the evaluations regarding the options of the USA regarding the future of its relations with Turkey were also completely excluded from the current report.


Another intervention in the December 2022 report was the extraction of details regarding the alliance of 6 opposition parties in Turkey.

The statements that the CHP and some opposition parties have established a broad opposition platform to strengthen their influence on the legislative, executive and judiciary for the 2023 general elections, including Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan, who previously served in the AK Party governments, were not included in the updated report. .

In the same report, in the part of domestic political developments in Turkey, the warning from President Erdoğan that the western ambassadors who supported the call of the European Court of Human Rights demanding the release of Osman Kavala that they would be declared as “undesirable persons” were included. not given.

In the updated report, the following statements regarding domestic policy were used:

“Erdogan, with considerable public support, argues that the Fetullah Gulen movement orchestrated the coup attempt, in which more than 250 people were killed and thousands were injured. Forces and citizens loyal to the government, a group of personnel within the army attempted to seize control of the state (Turkey’s Presidential Complex). Several prominent opposition figures in Turkey accused Erdogan of planning, controlling and/or using the failed coup attempt to suppress the opposition and consolidate power.”

In the domestic policy section of the December 2022 report, the application made to the Constitutional Court for the HDP to be closed due to its affiliation with the PKK terrorist organization and the reaction of the US administration to this was given.

In the updated report, the aforementioned part was omitted and said, “Meanwhile, the Turkish authorities continued their uninterrupted efforts against PKK terrorists, which the USA also defined as a terrorist organization. These efforts include Turkish military operations targeting the PKK and PKK-linked groups in Iraq and Syria.

In the December 2022 report on the exchange rate rise in Turkey, a comprehensive section titled “Currency Crisis” was separated and a broad analysis was made; In the updated text, a brief summary of the general state of the economy was included under the title “Great Economic Challenges”.

While the December 2022 report did not include election expectations and polls, some open source polls and possible opposition candidates were also mentioned in the current text.

*Image of the news served by Associated Press.