There were elements borrowed from the enthronements of sultans: After Erdogan was accorded the highest honors and worshiped as a patriarch of the Turkish nation, he was enthroned in his vast palace in Ankara in the presence of dozens of foreign dignitaries. Even the Prime Minister of Armenia attended.
Greece was represented, in response to an invitation, by Foreign Minister Vassilis Kaskarelis, an imposing and prestigious minister, who, after retiring from the diplomatic service – his last post, as we know, was ambassador in Washington – offers his services to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation as an advisor to the Board of Directors.
The invitation was, of course, an attempt to add yet another stone to the relationship being built consisting of moderate language and relative calm in the Aegean after the devastating earthquake in Turkey.
However, there are two other facts that deserve comment:
It is noteworthy that President Biden was represented at the inauguration by his ambassador to Turkey and not by a cabinet member, such as the Secretary of State, for example.
Also noteworthy, if not revealing, is the following statement by Biden to reporters: “I spoke to Erdogan. I congratulated Erdogan. He still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, so let’s get that done. And so we’ll be back in touch with one another.”
After that, the conclusion that can be drawn is that while certainly the Biden administration accepts the result of the Turkish election, they are far from happy.
They would have preferred his opponent to have won, as they had made clear during the election campaign. But that was not the decision of the Turkish people. So now they will be forced to cooperate with him – the key word here is ‘forced’ – while at the same time looking at new ways to reduce their dependence on him and the damage he can inflict, for example, through his relations with Putin and Iran.
This means that Greece’s value as an ally becomes even more important, while on the other hand America will exert less and less influence over him.
The second element is the massive replacement of the people who make up his administration’s foreign policy and security team.
Obviously, by this move he is, firstly, sending the message that no one but Erdogan is permanent and, secondly, that he is taking these crucial ministries into his own hands by appointing absolutely loyal collaborators.
So, this is not a change of course, but a continuation of the same, but even more under his strangling control, though.