Trump needs Erdogan more than ever - Daily Sabah
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should take advantage of his improved international standing and U.S. President Donald Trump's recent setbacks to move forward on U.S.-Turkey disagreements, Daily Sabah columnist Burhanettin Duran said on Monday.
In Paris this past weekend, Erdoğan held talks with Trump -- their first meeting since U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson’s release from a Turkish prison. Right now, the American leader might be in the mood to listen, according to the columnist.
Though Trump spun the midterm elections as a victory, Republicans lost their majority in the House. And it would be hard to argue after two years in office that Trump’s Middle East policy has been a ringing success, Duran argued. Washington was forced to grant more waivers than expected for Iran sanctions. Its Middle East alliance to contain Iran has fractured, due to ongoing disputes in the Gulf. Trump's "deal of the century" to bring Israel and Palestinians together has gone nowhere, the columnist wrote.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, Erdoğan's international standing has improved, as he prevented a Saudi cover-up and “made it extremely difficult for U.S. President Donald Trump to stick with his close ally, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who happens to be the chief suspect,” read the column in the pro-government news outlet.
The Saudi Crown Prince -- the key Saudi figure in Saudi-U.S. relations -- appears weakened after the Khashoggi killing, and Reuters recently reported that Saudi Arabia’s $110 billion purchase of U.S. arms -- oft-trumpeted by Trump -- may be delayed again.
All this may lead Washington to align its regional policies more closely to Turkey, its NATO ally. “For the time being, Washington and Ankara find themselves in a favorable position to hold talks,” Duran wrote.
In the months ahead, the two leaders could take constructive steps on northern Syria, where U.S.-backed and Turkish forces have come to blows, Iran sanctions, Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and his followers, and Turkey’s plan to purchase the S-400 air-defence system from Russia.
“To smooth out those problems, Erdoğan and Trump will have to meet frequently,” said Daily Sabah.