Trump ‘coddling’ Turkey despite expansionist Islamic leanings – Washington Post

U.S. President Donald Trump has been facilitating Turkey’s transformation into “another expansionist Islamic state seeking regional hegemony,” as the country stands opposed to many aspects of U.S. foreign policy, columnist David Ignatius wrote for the Washington Post on Thursday.

Turkey has been moving away from its former stance as a NATO member and a key ally for Israel in the Muslim world, and starting to resemble Iran more. Both Iran and Turkey “push radical versions of Islam at a time when moderate voices are rising in many Arab countries,” “have a backward-looking nostalgia for ancient glory,” and “are exporting instability through proxy forces,” the article said.

Turkey’s relationship with NATO has strained since it accepted delivery of the previously-purchased S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. The United States maintains that the purchase poses a security risk to NATO member states, and has passed legislation to sanction Turkey over it.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has hosted in Istanbul wanted leaders of the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas, and Turkey has been locked in an escalating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean over its claim to territorial waters and natural resources in the region.

Members of the U.S. Congress have “quietly frozen all major U.S. arms sales to Turkey” for the last two years, the article said citing Defense News, as Congress grows “increasingly suspicious” of Erdoğan.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan has engaged in an “Iran-like push to project military power,” with Turkish troops stationed in 12 countries – which do not include Libya despite the involvement of thousands of Turkey-trained mercenaries in the conflict – showing a “neo-Ottoman desire for hegemony beyond Turkish borders,” the article said.

The Turkish president has managed to remain in Trump’s favour by “assiduously stroking” his ego, it added, while top Turkish officials have voiced strong dislike for Trump’s rival Joe Biden and Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın slamming Biden “sounded close to taking sides in the U.S. presidential election.”

Turkey threatens regional stability, the article said, adding that Trump’s soft stance towards the country contradicted his denouncement of his predecessor Barack Obama for being soft on Iran.