Minimal discussion of foreign policy during the US presidential campaign has left President-elect Joe Biden pinned to very few specific foreign policy positions and given him great flexibility in carrying out his program. He would probably prefer to avoid confrontation with Turkey; in fact, he will likely explore areas of potential US‑Turkish cooperation, especially against Russia. However, Biden’s core positions on human rights and rule of law, his long-time focus on Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean issues, and his seeming inclination to continue to fight ISIS in cooperation with the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia – deemed “terrorists” by Ankara – probably augur deepening difficulties in US-Turkish ties. Down the line, a make-or-break decision on the future of US-Turkish ties will likely hinge on the Biden Administration’s assessment of Turkish-Russian relations. Europe may have an important say on Biden’s Turkish policy; a senior Biden adviser has said the new president will coordinate his approach to Turkey with the European Union.
The above excerpt was originally published in German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
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