Ankara’s role in Israel’s war. And the tensions with Washington. Geopolitical chaos grows. In dialogue with Henry J. Barkey (Council on Foreign Relations)

(Marco Emanuele)

Israel has, in fact, started its ground operation in Gaza: we have yet to see how it will develop. In the meantime, while we are particularly concerned about what is happening, and will happen, on the ground, a particularly important player is making the rounds. This is Turkey which, Henri J. Barkey of the Council on Foreign Relations tells us, has lost its “weight” so to say with Erdogan’s comments on Hamas being a “Mujahadden”, i.e. liberators, and not terrorists. Neither Israel nor the US would want to engage with him.

The only positive role Ankara could play was with respect to the hostages but, Barkey notes, Qatar has more influence than Turkey.

Barkey argues that Erdogan has always been very anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. Of course, Israel’s bombing has made it easy for him. He would have supported Hamas no matter what. He has helped to further inflame the Arab squares: yesterday, in the oceanic demonstration in Istanbul, the Turkish leader spoke even clearer words.

Stepping out of the Middle East context, it is interesting to understand the climate in Washington compared to Ankara. The game of Sweden’s entry into NATO is particularly sensitive. Barkey says that relations between the US and Turkey are very tense; many differences, it is no surprise that he forwarded the Sweden application to the Parliament, it is more of a show, trying to improve the atmosphere in Washington which has turned terribly anti-Turkish. It will not help him is my guess.

Beyond the NATO issue, relations between Biden and Erdogan are not idyllic, and not as of today. Barkey writes this in a reflection for the Council on Foreign Relations (october 25, 2023):  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched a whirlwind tour of regional capitals as soon as the crisis erupted, seeking ways to prevent further deterioration. He appears to have deliberately sidestepped a visit to Ankara, preferring to confer with the Turkish foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, by telephone. The Biden-Erdogan relationship has been strained for some time; Biden, too, has limited his contacts with Erdogan and been unwilling to invite him, for instance, for a state visit to Washington.

For regional issues (think of Washington’s support for the Kurdish militias of the Syrian Democratic Forces) and other questions, the gradual deterioration of relations between Washington and Ankara may negatively affect the development of the Middle East situation. Geopolitical chaos is growing.

(riproduzione autorizzata citando la fonte) 


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