Saturday, July 30, 2016

Good News and Bad News

The failed coup in NATO member Turkey and the ongoing successful purge of any source of resistance to Erdogan leaves us with good news and bad news about Turkey.

First the bad news:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have talks with Vladimir Putin in Russia next month amid a rapid warming in relations following the failed military coup in Turkey.

Russia “isn’t just our close and friendly neighbor, but also a strategic partner,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, who announced the Aug. 9 visit, said at talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich on Tuesday.

Wonderful, so the special relationship our president tried to forge with Islamist-leaning Erdogan has resulted in a reset with Russia.

Still, there is good news given this pending reset:

"The Turkish military is now a broken force and it will take years for it to heal," said Aaron Stein, resident fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, whose research focuses on Turkey and regional security.

So at least the Turkish military can't be much of an asset for Russia in future years if Erdogan decides to go full rogue:

Erdogan’s pivot to Russia is the latest indicator of the ruins of U.S. foreign policy. In President Obama’s original strategy of bringing peace to the Middle East and marginalizing terror by reaching out to democratic Islamists, Turkey’s Erdogan was supposed to play a major role. Indeed, Obama was widely reported to have spent more time on the phone with him than with any world leader.

I'm confused. Is this the "restoring our relations with the world" part of the Obama presidency or the "hope and change" schtick?

And Assad sleeps better at night now, knowing that even the remote threat of Turkey intervening directly in the Syrian Civil War is far more remote.

UPDATE: Strategytalk addressed Turkey and the coup. Listen here.