Most of the time, the US media, politicians and the general public have a myopic view of world affairs outside of America’s borders. Facts and statements about Turkey’s brutal tactics domestically and its international actions leave many Americans indifferent. They feel secure and content when they hear that Turkey is our “trusted ally.” Any action or misconduct of the Turkish government is of no grave concern. The media, in its turn, feeds this disconnect, which in other parts of the world may end up costing the lives of thousands of innocent citizens.
This attitude was prevalent in the US until Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed up in Washington this past week with his macho demeanor to trample on the constitutional rights of US citizens and export his terror tactics to American soil. The long-anticipated Erdogan trip to Washington concluded in failure with its fallout evident on the streets of this city.
The chief item on the Turkish agenda for Erdogan’s visit was the demand to stop US military support to Kurds in Syria fighting the Islamic State. Throughout the Syrian crisis, the US administration had realized that the most effective and trustworthy fighting force against the Caliphate in Raqqa was the Kurds, whereas Erdogan virtually was the godfather of the Islamic State.
Thus, the US policy to rely on the Kurds — at least at this stage of the war — ran counter to Erdogan’s policies. Despite many arm-twisting tactics, Ankara was unable to dissuade the Trump Administration. Erdogan’s trip to Washington was the last and most desperate step in that policy, which led to complete failure.
Notwithstanding the lavish mutual praise, the Trump Administration did not budge, and instead Mr. Erdogan’s anger was manifested in the streets of Washington.
Every visit that Mr. Erdogan pays to Washington turns into a spectacle. Last year, his speech at the Brookings Institute ended up in a brawl. His attempt to deliver a eulogy at Muhammad Ali’s funeral turned out to be a bitter disappointment, and he left the US unceremoniously.