Relations between Turkey and the US are conflictive from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, from the Caucasus to Syria and Libya.
The recently published documentary “A dying Empire”, which deals with the global decline of the US, has also touched on these issues, where Retired Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı provided insightful information and opinions.
United World International documents below the full transcript of the interview with Yaycı.
We would like to ask you to convey the Eastern Mediterranean or Mediterranean perspective of the USA with the Biden administration as a general framework. There is an increasing American presence in the Mediterranean in the west of Turkey, it has increased recently, and who is this military presence targeting? Why does the United States of America have so many military presences here?
First of all, it should be said that the US is generally positioned against Turkey’s approach to follow an independent policy. So this hasn’t changed much with Biden, Trump, or previous presidents. In fact, what has changed is Turkey itself. As Turkey pursues increasingly independent policies, it draws the reaction of the United States. In other words, in order to get along with America or to get along with great powers, you have to act as they want you to, and this pressure is not limited to the United States.
If you act as they want, if you follow their interests more than your own, or if you combine your interests with theirs as much as possible, then relations will be good. But when your interests collide with their interests, that is, when the interests of Turkey and the USA collide and Turkey its own interests, then there is a problem. Then there is a problem, but the Biden administration has a very different feature from other administrations. Let’s not forget this. This is neither a matter of Biden, who was a senator for 48 years, from 1972 to 2020, perhaps being one of the longest serving senators in US history.
Biden was senator for Delaware – a state with Greek-Armenian majority
He was a senator for the state of Delaware. I always point that out so that our people and the public can understand the situation well. The state of Delaware is a state in the United States of America where the Greek and Armenian Americans are in the majority, and Biden, who was elected from this state, I am quoting him exactly in his own words, he is an honorary Greek citizen. Biden’s nickname in Delaware is Bidenopoulos. Now these are very important hints. Look at Turkey in 1974 when he was a younger senator in 1972. Look at the Turkish cognates from the genocide, I am not saying massacre, I am saying genocide.
He had to organize a peace operation to save Cyprus from genocide. I emphasize again, this is a genocide. Why is that? This is not our saying, the Greeks themselves said it. This is what the Enosis plan means. The aim of the EOKA organization, which we call the EOKA terror organization, is the Enosis plan and the main goal of the plan is: A Cyprus without Turks. What does this mean? It means “I am going to massacre the Turks.” The massacre, which started in the 1960s, continued for 14 years without interruption. The Greeks brought 20,000 soldiers to the island, and the Turks, who make up about 30 percent of the island’s population, are in the mountains on 3 percent of the island. They had to take shelter in the mountains, no food, no drink, no school, no health. Nothing. They have come to hide in 3% of the territory. Children were slaughtered in bathtubs, they were killed. These were great massacres.
In 1974, Turkey intervened in Cyprus by using its guarantor rights against the Greek-Greek Cyprus duo, which did not step back despite all kinds of warnings. Now it is a just intervention that has intervened in Cyprus, and thank God not a single Turkish or Turkish Cypriot’s nose has bled since 1974.
Biden has been against Turkey already in 1974
But what happened? After 1974, the United States of America is supposedly our closest ally. They imposed the greatest embargo on us in history. So whose signature was under this embargo proposal? Young Senator ‘Bidenopoulos’ Biden. Now look, this is the first one. Secondly, all kinds of Armenians are behind the so-called Armenian genocide plans or have an influence on these, and they make use of Biden as a participant or the organizer. That’s why I said it’s useless to wait for a rabbit to come out of the hat, I said before April 24 that this man would recognize the so-called Armenian genocide and name it as such.
We have beautiful proverbs: one does not need a guide when a village is in sight, we say. Realpolitik realistic policy, following and analyzing policy based on realistic data is very important. Now, and let’s say that, until today, a US will be against Turkey, with Biden’s signature under all US plans. Secondly, the Greek and Greek beneficiaries are behind all their plans. As long as there was Biden’s signature under the whole plan in their hands against Greece and other countries that were in favor of the Greek Cypriots, for 48 years. He has his signature under the whole bill in favor of the Armenians. What does this mean? This truly visible village does not want a guide. It means we are going through a very difficult period. At the end of the 1990s, while Biden was a senator, he visited the late Bülent Ecevit. And when he visits Bülent Ecevit, Ecevit is very worried about his anti-Turkish, anti-Turkey ideas. After he leaves, Ecevit returns to his fellows and says, thank God, only a senator. He says that if he had been in government, we would have been burned. Now, the person Ecevit describes that way has become the President of the United States. Now let’s say something else. 5 years ago, Biden said: I will see in my own lifetime the declaration of an independent Kurdish state.
Now YPG, PKK, PYD, they are all terrorists, they are all the same root, all their supporters, supporters and founders of this organization in Syria are Biden and his team. They were established when he was vice president. In this region and currently, 520 million dollars of military aid is being given to these terrorists, is it possible for this to be compatible with being allied? Now think about it: Turkey is a member of the NATO, and the USA is a member of NATO. And your ally is helping and supporting an armed organization, an organization that poses a threat to the indivisible integrity of Turkey, an organization where everything is clearly in the open. If we had helped any organization, which the US defines as terror organization and which acts against US interests. Can you imagine what would have happened, the situation Turkey would have faced?
The US does not behave as an ally
It is the USA that behaves in a manner incompatible with the being allied, that actually turns its goals into action and continues its policies and actions without interruption or exhaustion. This is beyond any debate. Now how do we ignore this?
And in the Eastern Mediterranean issue, the dimension in the Eastern Mediterranean issue is actually the union of the land and the sea. How? The danger is great according to the America strategy and this administration’s goals. Establishing a PKKistan, providing the exit of this PKKistan to the sea in the Eastern Mediterranean and disrupting all current balances.
Now, all of these are big initiatives directed against Turkey. Now, in such a situation, it is not possible for us to remain unresponsive in such a situation. However, with that Biden has a view that has advocated the hegemony of the island in the Greek administration of the island for a long time. This island of Cyprus is the key of the Eastern Mediterranean and is described as an aircraft carrier in geopolitical terms. It is the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean. In other words, we are faced with a group that embraces the ideal of connecting the island of Cyprus to Greece.
Is the South Greek Cyprus Administration member of NATO?
Moreover, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus demands an area 30 times the maritime jurisdiction of its mainland, that is, of the land area. And Greece demands a maritime jurisdiction area 10 times the land area. Turkey on the other side demands a maritime zone that, including the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean islands, all together an area that is slightly bigger than half of its land are. And we are facing a so-called ally that treats the Greek and Greek Cypriot demands as justified and legitimate, while qualifying the Turkish demands as expansionist and illegitimate, thus considering Turkish rights as unlawful. This is the so-called ally we are facing today.
Well, Commander, is there a plan in the Black Sea? We know that there was a Montreux debate before, and then he took a step back and the British were in the background. Also America’s retreat is being talked about. What is the plan in the Black Sea?
Let’s say it this way. Now let’s say this for once, now I talk according to data, but I am ready to sit down and discuss that with everyone. I say what I know is right. This is what I know right, this is what I know, this is what I am sure of. Once these ships passed, 2 ships did not pass, or these ships are the ships that routinely passed thousand of times. They are the same ships that have passed thousand times for years. That’s why that ship passed, this ship did not pass, these are just words that were said either out of ignorance or to agitate the people.
According to the provisions of the Montreux Convention, these ships, those destroyers, have passed many times during my tenure, passed before me and passed after me. Now I see, I guess they don’t know the subject, I see even the old admirals who say that the American ship has passed, or this is normal, according to the provisions of a normal Montreux. These are routine passes… Up to 30,000 tons in every foreign state, including the United States. He has the right to own a ship. A single state has the right to keep all of them for 21 days, totaling 15,000 tons. It can keep 30.000 tons for 21 days, provided that it does not exceed the total. That’s about 5 frigates for a state. If you calculate about 5 frigates, 3000 tons. If your destroyer accounts for more than 5000 tons. It also consists of 3 frigates, that is, 3 frigates of the USA or any other state do not exceed 30,000 tons in total, together with 10 frigates, 6 destroyers or they can be found. Now in such a situation there is no such thing as reality.
At the moment, for example, only 12% and 13% are used. 12% and 13% of the capacity provided by Montreux is used. In any case, it is useless to put huge ships in a closed sea like the Black Sea. No one is in that danger. In other words, those huge ships will not be put in there as bait in a hot conflict of a state like Russia, if they will, they will sting them for propulsion, but no one will sting them at the risk of serious power loss. There is no such situation. In other words, there is a claim that a warning shot was fired on Britain’s ship today and it entered its territorial waters. England also made a statement that no such warning fire was made, that there was no violation. The issue of accuracy is now being investigated. But on such matters, it is necessary to talk about such matters knowingly for once. In other words, it is thought that all the capacity of the Black Sea is being used, but it is not enough because they want to enter. Now actually the Montreux Convention has an important advantage, everyone looks one-sided like that. It was the British who made the Montreux Convention, and one of their main purposes was to prevent Russia’s transfer of forces to the Mediterranean, and the Soviet Union’s transfer of force to the Mediterranean.
The much debated Montreux Convention
That is, according to the Montreux Convention, submarines cannot leave the Black Sea if the aircraft carrier or aircraft carrier is not maintained or if it does not go to maintenance, provided that it is not newly built, it will document it, or if it is newly built and will not leave the Black Sea. I mean, can you imagine that the unfreezing sea of Russia is actually the Black Sea? And if he builds the shipyards in the Black Sea, builds them in the Black Sea and counts them all over the world, he does not need to do it in Murmansk. In other words, there is no need to go there in Murmansk, in the North Sea, in the Arctic Ocean.
But due to Montreux, it cannot do such a thing to the Black Sea. Now, one of the restrictions in Montreux is Russia. Why does it not object to Montreux now? The United States is not a signatory, but England, France, İtaly and Greece are signatory countries, Bulgaria is a signatory, Romania is a signatory. They do not object at all, as if it is thought that if Turkey objects to it, will such a thing happen? 9 signatory states and 9 signatory states each have equal rights as Turkey. Turkey is one of them. In other words, this is not explained because we, unfortunately, could not understand it very well, and because a mutual agreement was reached on this issue. In other words, Russia does not transfer forces, at the same time, no force enters the Black Sea. This has created a balance, the Montreux contract has created a balance. It’s good for us, why is it good? We don’t have a headache. We don’t have a headache.
In other words, neither Russia nor America is setting fire at our door. I will pass my aircraft carrier? I’ll pass my nuclear submarine and you’re my ally. You’re my neighbor and you’re my friend. We are in the NATO, we are together in the Black Sea, no one can say such a thing. That’s why in this case, we can carry out this job without a headache, but such slogans like the Montreux contract is the title deed of Turkey in the straits, etc. There is no such thing in international law. Private law only exists. In other words, the concept of deed or these are such funny words that are spoken without knowing. Then it means that if Montreux goes, it goes to the straits, the title deed goes. Will that happen? The Montreux contract is only a contract that regulates the transition.
Otherwise, it is not a contract in which we take the right of sovereignty. It is not, there is no such thing. It has nothing to do with sovereignty. Since 1453, our sovereignty over the straits continues uninterrupted, with only one interruption is the period of actual occupation between 1919 and 1922. Apart from that, there are some agreements signed by the Ottoman State or the Republic of Turkey on the regulation of their transitions. There are treaties such as “Go like this, pass like this I am okay with that.” It is in agreement, but if there is no sovereignty or something like that, it is not transferred or regained, let me tell you that.
Turkey disrupts global games and regionalizes politics
When we look at the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, how can we list the overlapping and conflicting interests of Turkey and the USA?
We, as Turkey, are within the framework of our code of conduct, our policy of regional ownership. What does territorial ownership mean? It means that the countries of the region carry out policies in the region and own the region. Does the USA have a coast on the Black Sea? No. Does the territorial ownership policy apply to them? No, it doesn’t, because according to our policy, they are not a country of the region. And does the US have a coast in the Eastern Mediterranean? No. Then, is it right to address the USA concerning this region? No. First of all, I’m saying this very concretely. Taking it in abstract terms, it can be argued as follows: The United States is a superpower. They have interests everywhere in the world and therefore, we must definitely reach a diplomatic compromise with them. However the matter is as follows: In order to reach an agreement with the United States, the interests must coincide. We need to have a common interest. For example, there must be a danger targeting NATO member states in the region. There we have to agree. We have to unite. So which NATO member state is target of threats and dangers in the region? Turkey. Is there any other state but Turkey in danger? So what are these dangers? The biggest danger is the PKK-PYD, or what they call SDG, but all of them are PKK. We have to unite in the region against this. We should take precautions against their terrorizing in the sea area. Because this is the common denominator for the two of them as NATO allies. This is the main reason for the alliance. Let’s agree on this.
On the other hand, look, I brought this issue up for the first time. I say it again, but then there were conversations, I saw it. It is a very important point that this idea has been embraced by others. I look at things with some in concrete analytical terms, and then arrive at following conclusion: Is the South Cyprus Greek Administration a member of NATO? It is not. If the Southern Cyprus Greek Administration is not a NATO member and wants a maritime jurisdiction area of 30 times the land area, it wants a share of the maritime are of Turkey, which is an ally of the United States and a NATO member. This is an occupation attempt. This means an interruption of territorial integrity. Territorial integrity is not just land integrity. It is the integrity of the sea and the land. In that case the two NATO allies should take a common stance against the Southern Cyprus government, which is not a NATO member.
The US support for a non-NATO member, the South Greek Cyprus Administration, against Turkey is against the nature of things. It goes against the very reason for NATO’s existence. In fact, it is the USA that undermines NATO’s policies in this region and that undermines NATO itself. The inevitable conclusion is: NATO is not an alliance, it appears to be an organization that the United States of America can use as a manipulation tool when necessary.
However, this is not how it should be. The USA should take this into account. Turkey is a very effective state in the region, and it has shown that. Now that’s what’s bothering you. This is how Biden describes Turkey. A regional game breaker. However, I say, look, this is also my recipe for Turkey. As they describe, Turkey is a global game breaker, a regional playmaker. Regional playmaker. Turkey is in Libya today. It broke the global game. It established a regional game. Today, Turkey has disrupted the regional game in Syria, this global game, and established a regional game.
Today, Turkey is in Karabakh. The global game has been disrupted, and Armenia, supported by the USA, has lost the game. Turkey has established a regional game together with its brother Azerbaijan. Qatar has disrupted the global game, and by supporting our Qatari brothers, Turkey has been the biggest factor in protecting the territorial integrity of Qatar today. In Somalia and elsewhere, these are the most important indications that Turkey is the global game-breaker and the regional playmaker. Today, Turkey is trying to develop a relationship based on equal understanding in Africa and this is a really popular approach. However, European states want to continue the master-slave relationship. They want to continue the colonial imperialist order. This causes a serious reaction against Turkey. Thank you very much.