Erdoğan will be worried about Biden victory – columnist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be worried about the result of the upcoming United States presidential election having staked much on his personal relationship with Donald Trump, the Washington Post’s foreign policy and national security columnist said on Thursday.

“Erdoğan has gained the most from his ability to persuade — some would say manipulate — the (U.S.) president,” Josh Rogin said in an op-ed.

Examples include northern Syria, where the U.S. president briefly permitted a Turkish military operation against the Kurdish-led autonomous administration, and the U.S. State Department’s investigation into a Turkish bank accused of breaking sanctions on Iran, which Trump allegedly sought to quash.

However, Rogin said the biggest favour Trump has granted Erdoğan is his refusal to impose sanctions on Turkey over the purchasing of the Russian-made S-400 missile defence system.

In contrast, Trump’s presidential rival Joe Biden is unlikely to stop the sanctions push, which “is about to gain even more momentum on Capitol Hill”, Rogin said.

Biden has indicated that he would take a more assertive stance on Turkey, telling the New York Times that Erdoğan “has to pay a price”.

“The animosity between Erdogan and Biden runs deep,” Rogin said citing an alleged incident after Biden met opposition figures in Turkey.

“Erdogan was so incensed that he barged into a private meeting between their spouses and told Jill Biden that she should get her husband under control.”

With Biden leading the polls, Erdoğan has reason to worry ahead of the Nov. 3 election, Rogin said. 

“If Biden wins, Erdogan’s free ride is surely over.”