His good personal relationship with President Donald Trump notwithstanding, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently sent strong signals he wants a good rapport with Joe Biden.
The surprise moves by the Turkish strongman — a public congratulations to Biden following the election and the surprise resignation of Erdoğan’s controversial son-in-law as finance minister — are being interpreted in Washington and Ankara as signs Erdogan wants to “turn the page” in his relationship with the U.S.
As to what it means to the U.S., there is already speculation Turkey might not go any further on its deal with Russia for S-400 missile batteries worth $2.5 billion — something the U.S. is adamantly opposed to.
Turkey has accepted the first of four missiles but has thus far not gone through with activating them. The U.S., in turn, has not yet imposed sanctions on Turkey.
In a much-publicized move, Erdogan publicly congratulated Biden on Nov. 10 shortly after many U.S. networks projected the Democrat as the winner of the presidential election over Trump.
Less reported in this country, on the same day, was news from Turkey that rocked the nation: Berat Albayrak, all-powerful Turkish finance minister and son-in-law of Erdogan, announced on Instagram he was stepping down from his powerful post.
The exodus of Albayrak, 42, long considered Erdogan’s heir apparent, was initially considered a sign his father-in-law was disappointed in his handling of the economy.
The Turkish lira is the worst performer in emerging markets worldwide and, this year alone, it has lost nearly a third of hits value against the U.S. dollar.
Others see much more to Albayrak’s departure.
“All the Democrats in Washington that are familiar with Turkey and those who are expected to take critical positions under the Biden administration know that, during the Trump era, business was conducted through the ‘channel of the sons-in-law [Albayrak and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner],’ bypassing government institutions,” according to Cansu Çamlibel, editor of the influential Duvar English online newsletter.
“When the Biden team takes over, the first thing they will do is remind Ankara somewhat strongly of the conventional interstate relation framework.”
Camlibel also expressed confidence, the Biden team notes, as “a refreshing development” that former “heir apparent” Albayrak will “no longer be in the picture.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.