Is Erdogan heading to the White House? / AL-MONITOR

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly clinched an invite to the White House in May, though the United States has not confirmed the invite nor the date.

Al-Monitor, March 28, 2024, by Gabrielle Debinski

The announcement of an anticipated spring photo op at the White House is indeed a boon for the Turkish leader just days out from nationwide local polls on March 31, Amberin Zaman writes in this engrossing dispatch.

The view from Ankara: Erdogan has been trying to burnish his image at home as a fierce statesman unbowed by directives from Uncle Sam. The strongman can cast the latest developments as proof that his diplomatic strategy paid off: Having asserted itself by foot-dragging on Sweden’s NATO accession bid for almost two years, infuriating the White House, Ankara still managed to not only secure a coveted White House invite but also to ink a deal for a fresh fleet of F-16 fighter jets. That message is sure to resonate at home, where in a poll by Turkish company Gezici in December 2022, 90% of respondents said they viewed the United States as a hostile country. Meanwhile, 73% said they were in favor of solid relations with Russia.

The view from Washington: President Joe Biden is no fan of Erdogan, who he dubbed an “autocrat” on the presidential campaign trail back in 2019. But the war in Ukraine and Washington’s intensifying collision course with Moscow have made Turkey an important geopolitical bulwark for NATO, providing military support in the Black Sea region.

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