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Erdogan’s Regime and US Sanctions
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Creative Commons)

Erdogan’s Regime and US Sanctions

Al-Etihad, UAE, December 20

The American administration has run out of patience, and it has become clear that Donald Trump wants to apply sanctions against the Erdogan regime before he leaves the White House. Did the Turkish president think that Trump’s hands would be tied and that he wouldn’t be able to act against him? It seems as if Erdogan always makes the worst bet. Last week, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), for procuring S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia’s main arms manufacturer. This was the first time that Washington used such a tool against a NATO member state. Erdogan is a man who lives in the past. He believes that by restoring Turkey’s glorious past he will be able to save his fate. But the truth is that he refuses to learn the lessons of history. Those in Turkey who claim to “restore” the Ottoman Empire are the very same ones who are detached from the people, living in their ivory towers while the masses starve for bread. Erdogan doesn’t seem to understand the geopolitical shifts that have unfolded around him, and his country’s diminishing role in the world. Turkey’s geopolitical significance today is a far cry from its significance during the Cold War, when it served at the forefront in the fight between Washington and Moscow. The Incirlik Air Base in Turkey is no longer America’s stronghold against the Iron Curtain in the same way it was in the 1950s, 1960s and even 1970s. NATO countries, and the United States in particular, have deployed their strategic military installations in other parts of the region and the world. In addition, the development of hypersonic missiles and new weapons technologies — that can hit a target at unfathomable speeds — makes US bases on Turkish soil much less important than in the past. The problem with Turkey at the present time is that it is facing massive American anger in the last five weeks remaining of the Trump administration. And even though Biden would like to de-escalate tensions with Ankara, there is no guarantee that he will be less harsh on Erdogan. –Emil Amin (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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