Mehmet Yegin, an editorial board member of FeniksPolitik, told the Turkish daily Karar that US President-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy will most likely spell difficulty for Turkey.
Even before the US presidential elections many international media outlets and various foreign policy experts predicted that Turkey could be one of the countries to suffer the most under Biden’s presidency, as a result of several outstanding disagreements in Turkish-US relations.
As of November 9, Turkey is one of the few countries, along with China and Russia, that has not congratulated Joe Biden on his electoral victory.
“Based on Biden’s statements on Turkey prior to the elections, it would be wrong to expect an all-out crisis in Turkish-US relations. Here the most important topics will be what kind of relationship Ankara wants with the US and how it will move forward where their interests diverge,” Yegin said, adding that, “unlike Trump, Biden may take a more critical position in regard to democracy and human rights in Turkey.”
Yegin warned that Turkey might have to choose between either deepening its democracy or its isolation, as it could be left out of US coalitions of democracies intended to combat human rights abuses in China.
“Biden could also push Turkey to choose between Moscow and Washington. As part of this, if Turkey decides to activate its Russian S-400 missiles systems, sanctions against Turkey will once again be put on the agenda. The new US president might not hinder these sanctions until he gets assurances from Turkey,” Yegin predicted.
In 2018, Turkey bought S-400 Russian missile defense systems, prompting the US to kick it out of the US’s F-35 fighter jet program, but President Trump blocked further sanctions against Turkey despite calls from the US Senate and Department of Defense to do so.
Yegin also warned that if disagreements between Ankara and Washington continue, Biden could push against Turkish interests in the Eastern Mediterranean crisis or in the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Biden will strive to craft a foreign policy that is neither interventionist nor introverted. He intends to transform the surroundings of China instead of forcing China to change. Biden also plans to reform ill-functioning international institutions,” Yegin told Karar.
Yegin also said that, unlike Trump, Biden will try to lead the charge on global issues such as climate change, the pandemic, and disarmament.