President Erdogan, in search of a balance in relations with Moscow and Washington

2023-06-06 20:15:07, Kosova & Bota CNA
President Erdogan, in search of a balance in relations with Moscow and
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who just won another term, is facing the challenge of balancing ties with Russia and Western allies. Ankara's stance on Sweden's request for NATO membership is a critical test, and the final decision on the matter will be an important indicator of where it is leaning. As Voice of America correspondent Dorian Jones reports, analysts believe that Mr. Erdogan may be aiming to improve relations with Washington.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in for a third term as President of Turkey and analysts predict that foreign policy is expected to be his priority as part of efforts to transform the country into a 21st century world power.

"It is likely that the trend of a Turkey that does not align itself with one side or the other and is strategically independent will continue. President Erdogan sees Turkey as a country that is increasing its influence in world affairs. He built the whole campaign around this idea. He says that the 21st century will be Turkey's century and that Turkey is not a loyal member of the transatlantic community," says Asli Aydintasbas, from the Brookings Institution in Washington.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, while attending Mr Erdogan's swearing-in ceremony, tried to persuade Turkey to lift its veto against Sweden's NATO membership as the alliance's leaders are expected to hold their next meeting. high level next month.

Mr. Stoltenberg said that Sweden has taken a series of steps within the framework of Ankara's calls to strike terrorist groups fighting against the government of Turkey.

"An important new anti-terrorism law came into force just a few days ago. Sweden has fulfilled its obligations," he said.

Ankara's opposition to Sweden's NATO membership comes at a time when Mr. Erdogan has vowed to deepen relations with Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the first to congratulate Mr Erdogan on his recent electoral success.

"It is true that they are good friends and the relations between Turkey and Russia will strengthen in the next five years. I would say that Mr. Putin is undoubtedly very happy that for another five years the President is his friend", says Huseyin Bagci, from the Institute for Foreign Policy in Ankara.

President Putin gave his counterpart significant financial support during his presidential election campaign, delaying billions of dollars worth of energy payments, supporting Turkey's battered economy.

But analysts believe Mr. Erdogan may be aiming to shore up his electoral success by improving relations with Washington.

"Most likely, Mr. Erdogan and his associates are trying to revive the relations between the two countries in order for Mr. Erdogan to be better received in Washington, D.C., and maybe even an official visit, this is what they are waiting for," he says . Serhat Guvenc from "Kadir Has University".

Improving Turkish-American relations could help ease the financial pressures facing Turkey's economy. But some analysts say that the lack of a close relationship between the leaders of the two countries remains an obstacle.

"Turkey is and will continue to remain a challenge for Washington. It's a far from perfect relationship. In fact, it's quite dysfunctional. And it starts from the top, from the leaders, Presidents Erdogan and Biden barely speak and hardly ever meet", says Asli Aydintasbas, from the Brookings Institution, Washington.

The improvement of US-Turkey relations may depend on Ankara's position on the expansion of NATO and the imposition of sanctions on Russia, for which the West has increased calls, but so far Mr. Erdogan has refused to join the measures against Moscow. wow

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