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Bobby Ghosh

Erdogan Won’t Change, and Neither Should Biden

If Turkey’s president wins reelection, the US should brace for five more years of acrimony

Don’t hold out the olive branch.

Don’t hold out the olive branch.

Photographer: Moe Zoyari/Bloomberg

If, as is looking increasingly likely, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey wins reelection in Sunday’s runoff vote, you can count on three consequences. One: Turkey will continue to drift away from the West. Two: Its economy will continue to spiral downward. And three: The US foreign-policy establishment will recommend that Washington seek accommodation with Ankara, arguing that this would be better than five more years of acrimony.

President Joe Biden’s administration should follow the logic of the first two certainties to reject the reasoning of the third. Rather than rush to conciliate Erdogan, it should dial up economic and diplomatic pressure until he is ready to reset US-Turkish relations.