U.S. President elect Joe Biden should push for a fresh start with Turkey by acknowledging its active role in regional and global affairs, Daily Sabah columnist Burhanettin Duran said on Wednesday.
Any attempts by Biden to fuel political tensions with Turkey would be a strategic mistake, considering its relations with global rival Russia, according to Duran.
“At a time when Russian President Vladimir Putin manages to cooperate with Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, despite competing with him in a broad range of areas, the Biden administration’s moves that could fuel tensions with Ankara would amount to strategic blindness,” said Duran, the head of government-linked think tank SETA.
Turkey and the United States have been at odds over issues including U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish forces that Turkey sees as terrorists and Ankara’s purchase of Russian air defence missiles, which has led to Turkey’s suspension from a programme to purchase the F-35 fighter jet. Turkey has avoided further sanctions recommended by Congress thanks to warm ties between Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump.
In December, Biden advocated a new approach to dealing with Erdoğan, labelling him an autocrat, and criticised closer Turkish cooperation with Russia.
“It is in the United States’ and Turkey’s best interest for the Democrats to set aside ‘ideological’ prejudice for a while,” Duran said.