Biden administration urged to engage Turkey in Gaza crisis
In a recent analysis, Bloomberg columnist Bobby Ghosh emphasized the potentially pivotal role of Turkey in addressing the ongoing crisis between Israel and Gaza. The article, released on November 9, 2023, sheds light on the complexities of the Biden administration's diplomatic challenges and the underutilized strategic position of Turkey in the conflict.
The visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Ankara was met with a cold reception, as Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan gave a stern welcome and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan notably avoided meeting with the American envoy. This behavior is interpreted as a backlash to the U.S.'s diplomatic oversight for not recognizing Turkey's importance in the peace process despite its established ties with both Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.
Ghosh elaborates on Erdogan's often tumultuous relationship with the U.S., noting his disruptive tendencies on issues such as NATO enlargement. However, the columnist argues that Erdogan's involvement is critical, citing Turkey's recent restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel and its status as a haven for Hamas's political leadership.
The article points out a diplomatic misstep by the Biden administration in not engaging Erdogan right after discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This miscalculation is seen as a lost chance for Turkey to play a constructive role, potentially even aiding in the release of Hamas-held hostages, including Americans.
Although the U.S. has enlisted the support of other nations like Egypt and Qatar, it has overlooked Turkey, a move that Erdogan likely perceived as a diplomatic snub. In response, Erdogan lambasted Biden's military support for Israel and vehemently criticized Israel's actions in Gaza, exacerbating the tension between the U.S. and Turkey.
Nevertheless, Ghosh suggests it is not too late for the Biden administration to seek Erdogan's participation. The Turkish leader has expressed willingness to join talks and even proposed Turkey as a peace guarantor, drawing on historical precedents such as the resolution of the Cyprus conflict. Erdogan's ties to Hamas could provide valuable leverage in negotiations, and his recent outreach to Israel indicates a potential path to reconciliation.
The article concludes by asserting that recognizing Erdogan's significant role in Gaza could have wide-reaching benefits beyond the immediate crisis, potentially aiding in matters like Ukrainian grain shipments through the Black Sea and fostering peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ghosh urges President Biden to engage with Erdogan promptly, leveraging his influence to promote peace in the Gaza crisis.