What started out like a budding relationship between Obama and Erdogan, has now gone way beyond simple agitation. The coup in Turkey may have put the final nail in the coffin for what was supposed to be an American backed drive to rule the Middle East.
Early in Obama’s tenure, he believed that Turkey could become the lynchpin to US policy in the region. That was 7.5 years ago. Today’s relation is fraying at the seams and with months to go before Obama’s departure, the tightening of Erdogan’s rule following the “coup” may push it over the cliff.
Erdogan has essentially used the failed coup to purge the government and country of non-loyal forces. Although the USA supports a stable and strong Turkey, Erdogan using it as leverage to strike back at opponents is worrisome to the Obama administration. “We will certainly support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice, but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday. “We also firmly urge the government of Turkey to maintain calm and stability throughout the country, and we also urge the government of Turkey to uphold higher standards of respect for the nation’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.”
With Turkey getting the cold shoulder from the United States and of course near isolation by Russia, this puts it in a very difficult position with little or no wiggle room. This is what makes Bibi’s continued acceptance of the Israel Turkish reconciliation deal so strange. Why would Israel want to throw Erdogan a life vest?
“Israel and Turkey recently agreed on a reconciliation process between them. We assume that this process will continue without any connection to the dramatic events in Turkey over the weekend.” Bibi Netanyahu said yesterday.
The question for Israel is, how long will it wait to jump onboard the anti-Erdogan bandwagon? Afterall, if Obama and Putin can agree on the need to corner Erdogan, it pays to pivot alongside them rather than being left the only one still committed to some irrelevant deal.