Erdogan's magic is unlikely to work with Biden this time around
Turkey's strongman, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will try to use some "magic" to reset the relationship with U.S. President Joe Biden at their upcoming meeting in June. His “magic,” however, is unlikely to work at this time, Dr. Aykan Erdemir, senior director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies (FDD) in Washington D.C., told Hot Pursuit.
Erdemir said that the meeting between the leaders offers little chance to fix the structural problems in the relationship between the two countries.
Both countries have a number of serious issues to resolve. While the U.S. administration asks Turkey to remove the Russian-made S-400 air defence missile system from Turkish soil, Ankara wants Washington to stop Syrian Kurds who seem to be a threat to Turkey’s own national security.
The Biden administration will ask the Erdoğan government to improve on its human rights records and democratic standards while the Erdoğan government asks the U.S. government to lift sanctions on some of the weapons systems.
What is more, the bilateral meeting will be held under the shadow of the Belarus crisis, Erdemir added.
Diplomats have told Reuters, Ankara pushed for the scrapping of any mention of support for sanctions on Belarus and calls for the release of other political prisoners in Belarus after last week’s forced landing of a passenger plane and the subsequent arrest of a dissident journalist by Belarus.
There is one topic that has a chance for both leaders to make some progress and for Erdoğan to gain ground, and that is Afghanistan, Erdemir added.
Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, U.S. officials said previously, completing the military exit by the Sept. 11, 2021. Taliban attacks had drawn the United States into the region and its longest war. Turkey has presented itself as a key partner in Afghanistan and was set to host the peace talks between the Taliban and the U.S. government. However, the talk plans have collapsed.
Erdemir said that beyond some potential agreement with regards to Afghanistan, there appears to be no easy way to salvage the relationship.