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Bobby Ghosh

Trump Should Call Erdogan’s Bluff on Patriot Missiles

Injecting U.S. forces in Turkey’s scrum with Russia should carry a steep price.

For your allies only.

For your allies only.

Photographer: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s penchant for political gamesmanship, it is hard to know how seriously to take Turkey’s request for U.S. Patriot missile-defense batteries to be deployed on its southern border with Syria. The request was relayed last week to James Jeffrey, the American envoy for Syria engagement. 

Ostensibly, the Patriots are meant to deter — or punish — the Russian air force, which has been providing cover for the forces of the dictator Bashar al-Assad in the intensifying battle for Idlib.