Turkey’s Erdogan Warns Biden Ahead of Upcoming Talks

Turkish president also threatens to attack refugee camp in Iraq

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading into talks with President Joe Biden later this month by warning him that the US could “lose a precious friend” in Turkey. This has been a concern for several years, as the US wants to ensure military access in Turkey, and Erdogan wants to ensure everything in the region is bad for Kurdish autonomy.

While most of the tensions in recent years have centered on the US alliance with Syria’s Kurds, Erdogan claimed in his comments that the whole problem was “the so-called Armenian genocide,” saying the US has other problems besides advocating for Armenia.

The Armenian genocide has always been a touchy issue for Turkey, and was a big reason the US long hesitated to touch the matter. Biden is the first US president to recognize the genocide.

Issues on history may be an issue, but the more likely problem in Turkey-US ties going forward is Erdogan’s threat to attack the Kurdish refugee camp in Makhmour, Iraq, which he says is a source of terrorist threats against Turkey.

Erdogan and other Turkish officials have hyped up the “threat” posed by Makhmour, calling for airstrikes. If they end up with a casualty count among refugees, this is almost certain to lead to more international backlash against Turkey.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.