Turkey attaches great importance to the NATO summit, which will be held in Brussels on June 14, to seize the opportunity to directly communicate with US President Joe Biden. It is estimated that the meeting will last 30-40 minutes at best. However, as much as the content of the meeting, the photograph of Erdoğan-Biden to be given before and after the meeting is especially important for Turkey’s domestic politics. As a matter of fact, the image that Turkish President Erdoğan will give to the domestic political sphere that the relations with Joe Biden are going well, is important.

What Turkey expects from this short meeting is definitely not just a picture frame. It is an obvious fact that Turkey wants to open the channel of alliance with Joe Biden. So should we set high expectations? One way or another, it is clear from the preparations that Turkey will do its best. In particular, some advance arrangements made by Turkey in its foreign policy before going to meet with Biden stand out.

FOREIGN POLICY PREPARATIONS

It can be foreseen that some previous pretentious foreign policy moves will be compromised in preparation for this short meeting. Although these concessions are very tough, the S-400 issue, the Eastern Mediterranean issue, at the highest level of repairing relations with NATO and renewing relations with the US’s regional allies can be addressed. However, no expectation is directed towards the issue of human rights, which the US attaches particular importance to, but which Turkey ignores.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s not-so-surprising remarks about Turkey a few days ago define the main frame of this critical meeting. Blinken had first said that Turkey was not behaving the way a NATO ally in many respects. Then, of course, there will be a meeting with the USA on what to do with the S-400 systems purchased from Russia at the current stage. However, it is so interesting that Turkey will have discussed the fate of these missile systems, which it bought as a trump card against the United States by spending millions of dollars, with the United States in this short meeting. If we assume that the United States will not make concessions on the S-400, what concession can Turkey make?

Until a few months ago, the S-400 missile defense systems, purchased from Russia with major political scandals, also led to tense discussions between Turkey and NATO. From the statements that NATO’s brain was dead to the claims that Turkey ought to leave NATO, the debates had grown. Today, however, Turkey is trying to remind that it is NATO’s most valuable ally. This is the main content of the message to be given to Biden.

So why does Turkey want to show that it has not broken with the US line so much? For Turkey, the key element here seems to be based on where US President Joe Biden has positioned Turkey in his foreign policy. Erdoğan’s view is that Biden’s political route is towards the Transatlantic Alliance. As a matter of fact, the fact that Biden has made most of his visits to Europe and that he used discourses towards the alliance of democracy are among the analyzes made by Turkey.

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP 2.0

In this context, Turkey seems quite determined to give the appearance that the United States has no problems with its allies. In fact, another factor that Blinken underlined in his statement was that the policies pursued by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean in the past days did not comply with NATO alliance. Nonetheless, it should also be remembered that Ankara, with its retreating steps in the Mediterranean, pleased the West before the NATO and EU summits. After the year of 2020, which was mostly spent with military moves in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish government winked at the West with its exploratory talks with Greece. Having started to display a more harmonious attitude in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey is also currently seeking to restore relations with Greece.

On the other hand, in a column written by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for the French newspaper on June 6, he had said very restorative statements regarding relations with France, the European country that Turkey has the most problems with. At the same time, the restoration of relations with Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which has been discussed recently, is a part of Turkey’s recent diplomatic steps. Undoubtedly, these steps are nothing more than steps to tighten the relations with the US allies. Moreover, in the Black Sea region, where close cooperation with the United States continues, Turkey seems to be trying to use a new form of strategic relationship over the Georgia, Ukraine and Poland line.

This is exactly what Turkey wants to offer to the United States: Trying to show herself as the key to this line by repairing relations with the US’s allies in the region that matters to the US. While doing this, what Turkey wants to say is the establishment of a line where military and diplomatic crises are minimized, and the meeting of the two countries in a new mechanism that will enable joint cooperation within this line.

It seems that one of the pillars of Turkey’s getting rid of the strategic loneliness that it has been in lately is that it takes a step back in its foreign policy and especially the USA’s intensifying relations with its regional allies. It will be possible to understand what will come out of the Erdoğan-Biden meeting, which will take place on June 14, from the extent of the concessions that Turkey will make. Of course, the results of the Biden-Putin meeting, which will take place in Geneva on June 16, should also be considered in this context.