On May 19, Foreign Policy published its biweekly “It’s Debatable” column featuring Scowcroft Center Vice President and Senior Director Matthew Kroenig and Emma Ashford assessing the latest news in international affairs.
In their latest column, they discuss Turkey’s recent elections, tensions between the Russian military and the private Wagner Group, the Ukrainians’ delayed Spring offensive, and the surprising outcomes of Thailand’s recent elections. In particular, the co-authors delve deep into the topic of the Turkish elections, exploring how the results will impact NATO, as well as Sweden’s ascension into the Alliance.
Erdogan won a plurality, but not a majority, of votes, so it will go to a runoff election. But some of the voters for the now-eliminated candidates are likely to swing to Erdogan. If so, that will be too bad for Turkish institutions and also, potentially, for the NATO alliance… Let’s see how the runoff election goes. It’s not over until it’s over. But I think Washington will need to manage with several more years of Erdogan in power.
Erdogan’s victory will not be good for the Biden administration, though I’m less convinced it’s bad for the United States more generally. Erdogan has always been very transactional and self-interested; not the ideal ally, but you can work with him.