Putin may possess dirty files on Erdogan, inc real face of coup attempt – analyst

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is more cautious of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin than U.S. President Donald Trump, as Russia has more leverage on Turkey, U.S. think tank Brookings Institution nonresident senior fellow Ömer Taşpınar said on Thursday.

While President Trump has serious leverage, in the form of various sanctions, Erdoğan is in a tougher spot against Putin, Taşpınar said.

“According to what I hear, Putin is in possession of many files that could put Erdoğan in a bind if he wished, from corruption cases to the true face of July 15,” he said, referring to the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.

Taşpınar said Russia is able to play dirty. “For instance, if Russia makes a move regarding Idlib, thousands of Syrian migrants could rush to Turkey’s border.”

Russia has been bombing Idlib, which has the last strong rebel presence in Syria and is home to over a million displaced Syrians and Turkey-backed rebel groups.

There are U.S. senators who fear that sanctions against Turkey could accelerate the NATO member’s turn towards Russia, while others believe this has already happened because the United States had been too soft, Taşpınar said.

The only thing standing between Turkey and the U.S. Senate sanctions is President Trump, who wants Erdoğan to postpone the activation of the Russian-made S-400 missile systems Turkey purchased and had delivered this year so there will be a chance to stop the sanctions, he added.

Turkey was removed from the F-35 stealth jet fighter program and the U.S. Senate has been preparing to impose sanctions on Turkey for the violation of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) because of the purchase, as the United States considers the Russian systems to be a security risk.