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Editorial

The Favor that Trump May Have Asked of Erdogan

September 10, 2020

Many are trying to explain, based on the words of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, what Trump and Erdogan said in their ‘discussions’ regarding the Greek-Turkish crisis.

Most explain it based on past American interventions in Greek-Turkish crises, i.e., President Clinton’s actions regarding Imia. 

For me, the most likely scenario is the one that was conveyed to me in the last few days by two different, experienced analysts on politics and foreign policy:

According to this theory, Erdogan – despite his initially intensely aggressive mood – did not create a hot episode against Greece due to Trump's intervention with the Turkish president.

But his intervention, they say, has nothing to do with geopolitical interests, nor with the two countries' friendship and alliance with America.

This happened because a war between Greece and Turkey, in the midst of the election campaign would have a negative impact on Trump's re-election. It would present him as a weak leader, unable to push the two allied countries to find a peaceful solution to their problems.

It is now well-known that these two leaders, Trump and Erdogan, have close connections.

So, it is possible, and I think that it may be true given other cases, i.e. Ukraine – that Trump asked Erdogan to do him a favor, not to start any wars because then he would lose the election. And it is not in Erdogan's interest for Trump to lose the presidency either.

If this is what is going on, then there are two scenarios: 

If Trump wins, the interim period from the day after the election, November 4, until his second inauguration on January 20 will be the most dangerous for Greece.

It will be an intermediate situation, in which there will be no cost to Trump.

And in the event that Biden wins, then the same and worse will apply: Erdogan may want to "get his affairs in order" before Biden takes over, who will not be close to Erdogan because of his relationship with Trump – but also because of Biden’s long-standing relationship with our Community.

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