Turkey’s President Erdogan appears to have had enough of the international isolation begotten by his aggressive foreign policy. Yet, his pursuit of a reset with the United States is ultimately insincere. Though there are real and significant benefits Washington could derive from a renewed, cooperative partnership with Ankara, there are also major strategic costs to Erdoğan’s continued aggressive pursuit of Turkish unilateralism.
The Biden administration would be well-served to test the possibility of securing the former while protecting against the latter. This requires a strategy that is bureaucratic, transactional, and simultaneously coordinated with trans-Atlantic and Eastern Mediterranean partners, one that: right-sizes the relationship with Turkey; assembles a coalition to address joint concerns about Turkey; offers Erdogan a clear choice of cooperation or consequences; stands up for democracy; seeks a solution in Syria; and plans for the potential deterioration of relations.
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