Turkey’s Frayed Ties With the West Are Unlikely to Improve Under Biden

Turkey’s Frayed Ties With the West Are Unlikely to Improve Under Biden
Then-Vice President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Aug. 25, 2016 (pool photo by Kayhan Ozer for Presidential Press Service, via AP).

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office later this month, many U.S. allies and partners are eyeing an opportunity for better relations with Washington. But Turkey, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will face an uphill battle to settle its ongoing disputes with the United States, not to mention its other NATO allies.

There are three major impediments to a reset in Turkey’s ties with the West. First, the U.S. remains at loggerheads with Turkey over Erdogan’s decision to purchase an advanced missile defense system from Russia. Second, the European Union is considering tough sanctions against Ankara over its drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, in waters that are also claimed by Greece and Cyprus. And third, even independent of those external pressures, Erdogan’s government will likely continue to undermine the U.S. and the EU as part of his domestic campaign to keep Turkish voters on his side by galvanizing nationalist sentiments.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration imposed narrowly targeted but nonetheless stinging sanctions against Turkey in response to its acquisition of the Russian-manufactured S-400 missile defense system in 2019. The sanctions, which targeted Turkey’s defense industry, were required by the 2017 Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, known as CAATSA. Congress, angered by the delay, included a provision requiring the sanctions be imposed within 30 days in the annual defense bill that it overwhelmingly passed last month.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.