ASSESSMENTS

Simmering Disputes Will Plague U.S.-Turkey Pragmatism

MIN READJun 24, 2021 | 21:11 GMT

U.S. President Joe Biden (right) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021.

U.S. President Joe Biden (right) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021.

(OLIVIER MATTHYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden’s first meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdogan indicates bilateral relations will remain strained but pragmatically stable in the near term. But Washington and Ankara’s still many unresolved disputes, combined with Erdogan and his allies’ controversial moves to centralize power, will leave open the potential for future tensions that could escalate into new U.S. sanctions. On June 14, Biden met with Erdogan for the first time since being sworn in as president in January. The meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, was widely described as positive and included an agreement in which Turkey pledged to take charge of securing the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan as the United States withdrew from the South Asian country. But despite this, none of the other major points of contention between Washington and Ankara were resolved. For now, pragmatism seems the likely course,...

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