Biden-Erdoğan history gives mixed signals for future Turkey-U.S. relations - analyst

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has given mixed indicators of how he may deal with with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with having both expressed "absolute and unwavering support" for Turkey, while calling for the emboldening of opposition to defeat Erdoğan,  Ankara-based columnist Burak Bekdil wrote in Israel Hayom newspaper on Sunday.

Previous dealings between the next U.S. president and Erdoğan suggest that Biden may reign in his anti-Erdoğan rhetoric, leading to a good working relationship, Bekdil wrote, but the analyst listed a string of issues that may stand as a problem between the pair.

Closer bonds being forged between Washington and Syrian Kurds; Biden’s opposition to the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus and support for the Greek-American community; Biden’s vow to officially recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide if elected are just some of the issues facing the pair.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has been holding off on imposing congressionally mandated sanctions, under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), against Turkey for buying Russian S-400 missiles.

"Biden recently called on the Trump Administration to press Turkey to refrain from further provocative actions in the region against Greece,’’ Bekdil wrote, referring to heightened tensions in recent months between Ankara and Athens over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

The direction Biden will take on these issues remain unclear.

But signals from Ankara indicate that Erdoğan will remain pragmatic with the next U.S. administration. 

"Biden's election will not change relations between Turkey and the US," Bekdil cited Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay as saying. "It's only a matter of a period of transition."