A Barking Dog Never Bites
A Turkish proverb which means someone who makes threats all the time is not likely to carry them out.
It is a saying that is quite common in international relations, such as when The Guardian used the term while talking about the sanctions following the downed Russian plane; when Greece Foreign Ministry used it about the Aegean crisis; or when the US referred to it when talking about Pakistan in the past.
We are witnessing lots of barking around these days from the verdict in Halkbank case to the sale of F-35 fighter jets, to Hakan Atilla to Father Andrew. Despite all the threats and the rhetoric making the rounds around traditional and social media, we are yet to see any action that will hurt Turkey.
When the Russian plane was shot down, there were some serious repercussions for the Turkey-Russia relationship: application of travel visas, preclusion of Turkey as a touristic destination for Russians, the halting of exports of fresh produce from Turkey, the demise of contractor jobs, difficulties in Natural Gas sales. Turkey had to give out serious financial compensation for these hardships to be lifted. We had to give concessions for the Turk Stream pipeline. Now that the relations are more or less repaired, we immediately began talking about international envy for the friendship between Turkey and Russia. There is an understanding that sanctions like Russia implemented on Turkey do bear fruit eventually.
The USA administration is often likened to an aircraft carrier: it is hard for it to maneuver, and once it does change course, it is difficult for it to set a new route for itself. That means, if the US does go ahead with the sanctions it is threatening Turkey with, it will be very difficult for them to take back. They can really hurt us, and we won’t have much room to move.
The S-400/F-35 dilemma is a most interesting one. It may be tough for both of them to co-exist. The Russians will sell S-400 to whoever is paying them, no problem. But, the question is: will the US sell F-35 jets to a country who has just purchased S-400 from Russia? Not very likely -especially now that the sale of a simple handgun overseas has to be approved by the Congress. The Russian S-400 systems will designate any aircraft without the electronic description in its system as an enemy weapon. That’s how it will treat the F-35s.
The fallout from Halkbank verdict is sure to hurt us. I am not even sure if we would be fine if we had let the pastor go, but it is certain that house arrest will not cut it. Our judicial system has next to no credibility whatsoever. We are below investment grade. Our Central Bank is not independent by any stretch of the imagination, it cannot control the money markets. You try to curb the interest rates, the exchange rate blows up. All we see is talk and no action.
I live in a neighborhood with a lot of stray dogs lying around. The other day while I was walking in the woods I came across ten of them. I kept my pose, and kept walking, careful not to make eye contact. They left me alone. On my way back, I took a shortcut, but I was hearing the howls of the dogs from far away and it sounded scary. I probably wouldn’t dare walk through them.