The U.S. is used to express its concerns each time election results are delayed even for one day in any other country but now it is facing such troubles. President Donald Trump had made every appointment to key offices, including the administration of the postal service, in a bid to hamper his rival Joe Biden in these elections, but things didn’t go as planned for him. Trump, who has turned into an elected dictator with no respect for justice and rights, made the true colors of the U.S. seen.
This electoral chaos revealed how divided and polarized the world’s greatest military and economic power is inside. In this chaos today, Joe Biden, who turned 78 on Nov. 6, is seen and shown as a hope. And some in Turkey believe it. However, everything is not going to be fine when Biden comes to power.
The best thing about Biden becoming the U.S. president indeed is that Trump will have been gone. Yes, it is true but what else? The idea that “Trumpism” will remain even if Trump is gone, which spread around the world following a New York Times editorial, is a serious concern. It is enough to look at their key campaign slogans to realize that the difference between Trump and Biden is not that much.
Troubles will not end because…
Trump, as you know, uses the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Biden used the slogan “Keep America Great.” So do we want a return to the pre-Trump U.S. of Obama or Bush?
There is something that those in Turkey who are under the illusion that all troubles will vanish once Biden comes to power and Trump is gone, should realize. The U.S. voters do not go to the ballots for the quality of democracy in Turkey, the Kurdish autonomy in Syria or to support the Greek thesis in the eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. president is elected by the votes of the people who lost their jobs in the Covid-19 environment and they cast their votes to protect American interests.
If Biden is elected, his priority will be the restoration of the U.S. inside the country and abroad. It is seen from the armed protestors of the Trump supporters that the situation inside the country is not manageable. In the international level, the U.S. will have to restore its relations with the EU and NATO to cope with China and Russia. Turkey will be among the countries that appear on the radar screen because of NATO, Russia and the Middle East issues.
Impact of Trump-Erdoğan relations
In Turkey, the most important reason for the Trump hatred of the sections who want Biden to come to power more than roughly half of the U.S. citizens is Trump’s closeness to Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan. Sorry but this is a naïve point of view in despair to claim that Biden would teach Erdoğan a lesson and the order of law and democracy will rise in Turkey. This is true for all circles across the world who rely on Biden’s win for their own political and economic goals.
First of all, let’s keep this in mind: Trump can remain in his post after court proceedings, vote counts, and so on. In this case, there is no guarantee that he will keep preventing the S-400/CAATS sanctions on Turkey. On the other hand, Biden has already made statements in favor of sanctions on Turkey. As a newly elected Senate member, Biden was one of the four U.S. senators who suggested the 1975 U.S. arms embargo on Turkey due to the Cyprus issue and opium plantation. He was also among the U.S. senators who delivered the military demands of his country from Turkey ahead of the Sept. 12 coup and one of those who had those demands be practiced.
As the vice president in Barack Obama administration, Biden met with Erdoğan -both during his tenures as the prime minister and the president- many times. By the end of 2011, the world saw Erdoğan’s first post-medical operation pictures taken at his house due to a visit by Biden. In short, Biden knows well about Turkey. However, although he has prejudices against Turkey, he shouldn’t be expected to take the issue to a point that Turkey would break with the West and take steps closer to Russia, China and Iran. After all, Biden is a statesman. He would cooperate with whoever meets his demands. As a matter of fact, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu recently declared the obvious, saying that “We will work with whoever is elected.”
Still, he might want to hurt Erdoğan because of his closeness to Trump. In doing so, just as Germany tried it, he might pick a discourse saying that “Turkey and Erdoğan are separate issues.” But eventually, his words on Turkey would just hang in the air if the rise of the quality of law, democracy and economy in Turkey are not in line with the U.S. interests. Those who hope that “Biden will come, our troubles will end” will be disappointed just like others across the world.
One condition to end troubles
There is one condition for the troubles to end if Biden comes to power. The Trump-Biden conflict in the U.S. reflects the division of political and economic powers in the country. If Biden wins and maintains Trumpism with a genial and gentle style rather than Trump’s rude style, this would be the rotten apple covered in sugar and served to us.
However, if Biden wins and if the political and economic powers that support Biden really want the restoration of capitalism and its restructuring with lessons from pandemic lessons, then the situation is different. Then, it means there is some hope for Turkey in it.
Because if capitalism sets out to abandon the wild and cheeky line that peaked with Trump, Erdoğan has the experience to see that then he will not be able to maintain the current structure in this way. He will have to see that the country needs to recover from the “middle-democracy trap” for the economy to recover, become open to investments, and get rid of the “middle-income trap.” However, this is a fact: If Trump continues, this is not even possible. We will be able to see the picture more clearly after the results of the U.S. election are finalized.