The Turkish President’s foreign policy dilemma

The past month has not been a success story for the Turkish president on the international diplomatic stage. It began with a statement by the Arab League calling on Ankara to “stop its provocations in North Africa and the Middle East”. It continued with President Erdogan’s visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, where President Biden refused to meet him. Lastly, let us not forget Moscow, which is intensifying its attacks on Turkish-allied jihadist organisations in the Syrian province of Idlib, in which 11 jihadists were killed just a week ago.

League warning
In a joint resolution on 9 September, the Arab League foreign ministers accused Ankara of “endangering” the security of the wider region with its recent military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria. By attacking Syrian territories, Turkey is in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, they added.
Slaps in the face in New York
Erdogan spoke at the UN General Assembly two weeks ago, inaugurated the $291 million ‘Turkey House’ (while the country’s finances are on the floor) and solemnly launched his newly published book. It was no small slap in the face for Erdogan that two of his most important scheduled meetings were cancelled. The Turkish leader announced in vain that he would hold talks with US President Joe Biden and Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Micotakis on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, but neither of them agreed to talk to him.

Indeed, US-Turkish relations have not been at such a low point since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The current relationship is strained by serious disagreements over Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, just as the White House is not swallowing the 2019 purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.

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