Joe Biden and Turkey: Another Crisis or Healing the Relationship

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US Presidency Elections 2020 finally ended up the last week we left behind. According to the official conclusions, Joe Biden became the 46th President-Elect of the US over Donald Trump. So, on one hand, the preference for Joe Biden of the people of the US have become a new hope for the world. But on the other hand, these elections’ results have caused curiosity about how relationships between Joe Biden and Turkey will be. Therefore, we are today going to dig into President-Elect Joe Biden’s approach to Turkey throughout the last 50 years. Thus, try to anticipate how relationships between Turkey and the US might be.

The elected-president of the US, Joe Biden, visited Turkey three times before
The elected-president of the US, Joe Biden, visited Turkey three times before

Curiosity for Relationships Between Joe Biden and Turkey

Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the US Elections 2020 and became the 46th President of the United States. So, following the results, all eyes turned to the question of how the Ankara-Washington relations will be.

Erdogan, unlikely other European leaders, belatedly congratulated the new president of the US
Erdogan, unlikely other European leaders, belatedly congratulated the new president of the US

The new president of the US Joe Biden visited Turkey three times before. After his first visit in December 2011, he came to Ankara for the second time. It was when the period of the US’s ISIS operation in Syria. Biden was also in touch with the Turkish authorities a month after the coup of July 15, 2016.

So, the experienced politician Joe Biden has served the country for 36 years as vice president for 8 years and senator for more than that. He is, therefore, a very influential figure of the Democratic Party. People now wonder with the new resident of the White House: how will Turkey-US and Joe Biden and Turkey relations be like?

Joe Biden’s Political Bloomers: “Replacing Erdogan with Election”

One of the bloomers that Biden made was last year December. He had said that “We will replace Erdogan now with a coup, but elected.” Moreover, Biden also said that “in order to overthrow Erdogan, we must support the opposition [parties in Turkey].”

It is now a matter of curiosity on how relations between Joe Biden and Turkey be like
It is now a matter of curiosity on how relations between Joe Biden and Turkey be like

Following Biden’s statement without any hesitation in front of cameras, Erdogan had shared his anger and disappointments. He had reacted to Biden’s statements by addressing the history of strategic relationships between the US and Turkey.

Publicly Criticizing Turkey’s Capital Ankara

Biden was the Vice President of former President Barack Obama in the USA between 2009-2017. So, he openly and publicly has been criticizing Ankara. During the last election campaign, he named Turkey, along with Russia, and North Korea, as “autocrat administrations”. Turkey is familiar with Biden’s critics on Turkey in particular issues such as human rights, democracy, Syria, and the S-400.

Trump thinks that Joe Biden lacks the mental capacity to deal with leaders like Erdogan
Trump thinks that Joe Biden lacks the mental capacity to deal with leaders like Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other hand, criticized the Barack Obama period and stated that he had “good relations” with Donald Trump. Trump brought up his relations with Erdogan during the election campaign. He said, “I can get along with him. He is listening to me.” Trump said at this point that Biden “lacks the mental capacity to deal with leaders like Erdogan.”

The Future of the S-400 Missile Defense System

Turkey, last year October, purchased an S-400 missile defense system from Russia. Later on, experimented with the S-400 missile defense system in Turkey’s Sinop city. Thereupon, Biden stated that “Ankara is the possibility to impose sanctions.” Trump, however, didn’t approve the sanction decision against Turkey in the Congress last year.

Turkey's purchasing S-400 missile defense system from Russia had caused trouble with the US
Turkey’s purchasing S-400 missile defense system from Russia had caused trouble with the US

However, it is stated that one of the most important priorities of Biden in foreign policy is to make NATO more effective. At this point, the experts say that they would choose the path of development of relations with Turkey.

Joe Biden and Turkey: Eastern Mediterranean Politics

One of the most popular subjects between the two actors was the recent tensions in natural gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey. In the past, the US pursued a policy of balance between Turkey and Greece. But in recent months, the US has been developing relations with Athens in defense and security fields.

Ceaseless Tension: Cyprus

The endless tension of Cyprus
The endless tension of Cyprus

Biden was also among those who criticized Turkey’s policy on Cyprus while he was serving as a senator. Experts state that Biden will maintain Ankara’s opposite view on Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean issues.

Syria and Israel 

Washington under Obama, despite Turkey’s objection, gave support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). So, political experts expect Biden keeps supporting the SDF in the new period.

Obama era politics gave a powerful support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
Obama era politics gave powerful support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)

Joe Biden is a “Pro-Israel” politician. He also gives importance to Turkey-Israel relations. So, so experts express that Biden will try to reconcile two sides for the Middle Eastern politics. And thus, the US will able to regain its powerful position in the region against Russia’s current existence in the absence of the US army.

Joe Biden and Turkey: 1915 Events (or So-Called Armenian Genocide)

Biden is known that has been doing some serious and effective works for the so-called Armenian Genocide to be accepted as the “Armenian Genocide” in the US. So, experts state that Biden will not give up this policy. This policy, in the meantime, has always been the official discourse of the US Foreign Policy, anyways. Therefore, it is quite unsurprising and understandable for the US to maintain its historical position on the issue.

Turkey's pro-government online newspaper Daily Sabah claim that Joe Biden is a complete stranger to Turkey
Turkey’s pro-government online newspaper Daily Sabah claim that Joe Biden is a complete stranger to Turkey

In Conclusion

Turkey and the US have long had strong, ties, and strategic relations. The strategic partnership between the two countries began following the end of WWI and strengthened with the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. There have always been some milestones for the route of the relations. For instance, Turkey’s military support to the US forces in the Korean War, or Turkey’s participation in NATO in the 1950s.

In spite of Trump's ongoing objections, Joe Biden took over the US's administration and the presidency
In spite of Trump’s ongoing objections, Joe Biden took over the US’s administration and the presidency

Yet, relations haven’t always been progressive and routed in a positive way. Turkey’s Cyprus intervention and president Johnson’s threatening letter gave some hard-to-repair damages to both sides. Nevertheless, one way or another, the strategic partnership between the two has survived each time and has succeeded to come today. When it comes to mutual interests, and historical ties, names are just names. Don’t you think?

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