Biden in Turkey: The meaning of the visit


US Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Turkey today. He will hold talks with the country’s top leadership. Biden's visit takes place against the backdrop of a serious deterioration in relations between the two countries in recent years.

On the agenda are the issues of Turkey’s military operation in Syria, Turkey's membership in NATO, and the issue of Fethullah Gülen, who created a network of influence controlled by the CIA that was involved in the attempted coup on July 15th, 2016.

The military operation in Syria

Biden's visit coincides with the beginning of Turkey’s military operation in Syria against ISIS and Kurdish separatists. This indicates that the Turks are ready to seize the initiative from the American side in negotiations and raise the question of American support for the Kurds. The United States will try to avoid having to make a clear choice between Turkey and the Kurds. It needs Kurdish separatists as a means of securing its involvement in the region, but it is also not interested in Turkey exiting NATO. Therefore, the US will not give any real concessions to the Turkish side beyond diplomatic statements.

Withdrawal from NATO

Now that the facts of US intelligence and NATO involvement in the coup attempt have become apparent, the agenda includes the issue of Turkey withdrawing from NATO. The main purpose of Biden’s visit initially was to convince the Turkish side not to take any steps in this direction. On Biden’s side is the pro-NATO network in the Turkish leadership, the highest military circles, and within the Justice and Development Party (and its former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu). Maximum pressure will be put on Erdogan with the goal of preventing a Turkish exit from NATO or at least freezing participation in the military structure of the organization following the example of General de Gaulle.

American tales

In reality, the US cannot offer anything in exchange to Turkey for following in the footsteps of their policies and preserving NATO membership. The Americans cannot extradite Gulen, because he knows too much. Nor can they turn away from Kurdish separatists. Turkey will be offered bogus bonuses backed by pressure from the pro-NATO network in the country. At the same time, while maintaining membership in NATO, and thus preserving NATO's influence in relation to the Turkish armed forces and maintaining the pro-American network of influence within the country, Turkey risks facing a new coup against Erdogan, who is trying to pursue an independent policy.