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A Joe Biden victory will cause embarrassment in Ankara

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The period between changing American presidents is what worries Athens as there is an expectation that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will try to take advantage if Democrat Candidate Joe Biden is successful. If all the scenarios are confirmed that Biden wins the election, then the new president is expected to take office on January 20.

Until then, U.S. President Donald Trump will be sitting in the oval office of the White House and no one can know the reaction he may have after the election defeat. Ankara has not ruled out betting on Trump’s three-month stay and personal ties with Erdoğan, aiming to establish a foothold in the Eastern Mediterranean before Biden’s arrival.

Embarrassment in Ankara

The apparent victory of Biden has caused embarrassment in Ankara, which is trying to build bridges to the likely new US president.

“Regardless of which candidate takes office in the U.S., we will pursue a sincere approach to improve our relations,” said Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Indicative of the concern prevailing in Turkey is that provocations against Greece have decreased in the last 24 hours. It is not ruled out that it may intensify in the coming days. Analysts estimate that Ankara weighs the data and weighs the moves that will have the least risk.

Erdoğan’s friendship with Trump may negatively affect relations with Biden if he is successful as he will try to put new conditions in the relations between the two countries.

Trump Towers in Constantinople. Biden
Trump Towers in Constantinople.

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu also admitted this fact.

“People have an impact, positive or negative. The sincere friendship between our president and Mr. Trump has continued through the most difficult times,” he said.

Fears of sanctions

The change of baton of the US presidency to Biden will bring back to the forefront the issue of sanctions against Turkey for the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. These sanctions were effectively blocked by Trump.

Greek PM thanks Joe Biden for his support over Hagia Sophia
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Democrat Candidate Joe Biden.

At the same time, the role that Ankara is trying to play in the Eastern Mediterranean region is expected to be reduced.

As Turkish journalist Aslı Aydıntaşbaş notes in her analysis, Congress will now be free to take action against Ankara.

“Ankara hopes to enter into negotiations from a strong position, using as a lever their S-400 and Turkey ‘s relations with Russia. But the expectation is that things will get worse before they get better. Without Trump’ s shield, Ankara is worried that an angry US Congress will have a freer ‘hand’ to impose sanctions on Turkey,” she wrote.

In her article, she also refers to the choices that the EU has against Erdoğan.

“To become a firm Western player in tackling Turkey to offset the turmoil in the Ankara-Washington dialogue. Or to follow the US leadership, including the possibility of sanctions,” she wrote.

Greek frigate market from the USA

The General Staff of the Navy is in favor of the US Multi-role Frigate (MMSC) market.

According to Kathimerini, the proposed transnational agreement has as its central proposal a package solution that includes the supply of four multi-role frigates, the upgrade of four MEKO type frigates, intermediate solution ships, national industrial participation and, finally, the participation of Greek shipyards in the development of the new American FFGX frigate.

Frigate building shipyard Syros
Onex Shipyard in Syros.

In fact, the navy suggests that the construction of the frigates is to be done in the Greek shipyards, while the proposal for a transnational agreement is made in order to avoid the risk of slipping in a tender process that would lead to further strain of the existing material, which is worthwhile, but with huge damage to the Turkish provocation of recent months.

Sotiris Stathopoulos is a correspondent for The Toc.

The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.

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Guest Blogger

This piece was written for GCT by a guest blogger.

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