Source: The Strategic Culture Foundation, by M.K.Bhadrakumar
When President Donald Trump receives President Recep Erdogan on Tuesday at the White House, his legendary deal-making prowess will be on trial.
Trump has not been in a tearing hurry to receive Erdogan. During the first 100 days of his presidency, Trump received the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan (twice), Iraq and Palestine. Yet, none of them belongs to a Nato member country and or is a crucial “swing” state in Trump’s messianic war against ISIS, as Turkey is.
Or, was it Erdogan’s growing friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that discouraged Trump? But then, Trump greeted Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the White House as an old ally.
Clearly, the only good reason could be that Trump deliberately decided that there is a time for everything – even for meeting Erdogan. Trump thoughtfully let the Turkish referendum on constitutional reform run its course first. Trump now has the answer.
Erdogan extracted a “yes” vote in the referendum alright, and is set to concentrate executive power in his hands, but, paradoxically, he is a wounded man, having lost the referendum vote in all major cities, especially Istanbul, which has been his citadel. Erdogan barely scraped through.
On the other hand, an invigorated German-French axis following the resounding election victory of Emmanuel Macron means that a consolidated EU pressure is building on Erdogan to curb his authoritarian drift. Erdogan knows that a rupture of Turkey’s ties to the West would have grave economic and political consequences.
Erdogan has been naïve. The Kremlin won’t risk annoying Trump. Détente with the US is an overriding concern for Russia
Meanwhile, if Erdogan had calculated that he could play off the US and Russia, that is also not to be. Trump simply outflanked him by opening a line to Putin regarding Syria before he met Erdogan.
Erdogan has been naïve. The Kremlin won’t risk annoying Trump. Détente with the US is an overriding concern for Russia.
All things taken into account, therefore, Trump did the right thing to meet Erdogan in the fullness of time. Trump’s decision to sign the executive order allowing the Pentagon to transfer heavy weapons to the Kurdish militia on the eve of Erdogan’s visit underscores it.
Trump is looking for a quick victory in Raqqa. The liberation of Raqqa will be prime time news in America. Who’d pay attention anymore to “a showboat” such as James Comey when the pictures are beamed from Raqqa into the living rooms of America?
The Pentagon commanders estimate that the Kurdish militia with US air support will liberate Raqqa successfully and swiftly. Indeed, latest reports suggest that the Kurdish militia has reached within two kilometers of Raqqa city limits.
Simply put, Erdogan who was hoping to dissuade Trump from aligning with the Kurds will now have to discuss concerns over post-liberation Raqqa. The ground beneath Erdogan’s feet has dramatically shifted.
Read More Here: Turkish-American Relations at Crossroads