Erdogan Keen to be Hosted at the White House
After being snubbed for three years by US President Joe Biden, Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that Turkey can no longer be ignored. “We are positioned as a key country in the Middle East, in the Eastern Mediterranean and in our region, and it’s not just us who are saying this.”
Turkey, a NATO ally, has often taken the US to the edge by constantly supporting Russia and China. In 2021, Biden’s Summit for Democracy excluded Turkey owing to Erdogan’s authoritarian style of rule.
Tensions have been flying off between Turkey and the US for some time. In October, President Erdogan warned the US that the downing of a Turkish drone by American forces in Syria would not be forgotten and promised to take necessary action. He also accused the US of contributing towards the escalation of the war in Gaza.
Turkey Backing Sweden for NATO, US Nod
But things are seemingly calmer between Turkey and the US, given Ankara giving Sweden the go ahead for NATO and will be discussed in the Turkish parliament on Thursday. Erdogan had initially objected to Sweden’s accession into NATO because the Nordic country was allowing activities of individuals that Turkey deems as terrorists.
Alper Coskun, a senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment and former Turkish ambassador, said this is part of Turkey’s quest to make the US side sure about its resolve on Sweden’s membership. “Ankara will probably expect to see some developments on the US side or at least to see the wheels turning.”
Moreover, Turkey and the US have been looking at returning to dialogue on the sale of F-16s to Turkey, which faces a roadblock in the US. Kemal Kirisci, a non-resident senior fellow of Brookings Institute, said the Biden administration had signaled on the F-16 dossier before the Swedish NATO accession. He added that failure in the sale of the Turkish-US ties risks a severe crisis. “There is already deep distrust between the two sides. They don’t see eye-to-eye on any issue.”
Erdogan Elevated Turkey in the Region
Turkey, under Erdogan’s rule, has evolved from a small country and economy, into a rising middle power and important regional and global power. Turkey is the home of NATO’s second-largest army and the world’s 19th largest economy, as well as the world’s 12th largest arms exporter. It has distinguished itself from the West in its harsh criticism of Israel’s retaliatory actions in Gaza against the Hamas.
What makes Ankara stand apart is its adoption of a foreign policy that is neutral in major confrontations. It entered into peace and friendship treaties with its neighbors. Furthermore, Erdogan prioritized creating a nation-state within internationally recognized frontiers. Turkey’s broader foreign policy has played a role in helping the country emerge from a small state and into a rising middle power.