How will Turkey be affected if Biden wins the US elections? - ŞAHAP KAVCIOĞLU

How will Turkey be affected if Biden wins the US elections?

The U.S. elections to be held on Nov. 3, 2020 is perhaps going to be the most chaotic elections seen in the country in the past years, with the most unenthusiastic, unassertive, and oldest candidates running for president. If we were to analyze the presidents elected after Democrat candidate Bill Clinton, who was the last president of the 20th century; after Republican candidate George W. Bush followed Barack Obama, who was perhaps the most promising, charismatic leader of the century, and whose election was revolutionary because he is Black, the U.S. was not able to find a candidate it wanted, neither among the Democrats nor the Republicans. Even though Hillary Clinton received more votes than Donald Trump in the 2016 elections, he was elected as the U.S.’s oldest president based on the country’s Electoral College method. It appears that Trump will be forced on the U.S. public, which was greatly disappointed, this term as well since Americans are unfortunately unable to find the fit they are seeking.

The elections are being held under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 9 million COVID-19 cases have been detected in the U.S., which has the highest number of cases and deaths worldwide. Futhermore, some 230,000 people lost their lives as a result of the pandemic.

It is reported that 12 million people in the U.S. lost their jobs during the pandemic, and 8 million people are now bordering poverty. Millions of people, predominantly women and non-white citizens, are afflicted by starvation. It is additionally reported that one in every six businesses in the U.S. has shut down during this period.

This has made it more difficult to implement the fiscal stimulus package that was expected to be enforced in the U.S. in order to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. It can be said that all walks of society are now focused on the elections.

In terms of relations with Turkey, based on Joe Biden’s latest comments regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it is considered that Trump’s win at the ballots might be better for us. However, in his statements, Biden says he is interested in mending ties with allies and international organizations with whom relations soured during Trump’s term.

Therefore, we need to consider its relations with Turkey, currently a major player in the region, and an important NATO ally, in this context. Moreover, we see that the two countries’ trade and business relations in recent years increased significantly. The bilateral trade volume which was $6.4 billion in 2002, climbed to $21.1 billion in 2019. In addition, despite the pandemic, our trade volume in the first eight months of 2020 increased about 3.5 percent, reaching $13.93 billion. Today, there are almost 2,000 U.S. companies operating in Turkey with an investment total of $12.8 billion. Turkey’s direct foreign investment in the U.S. is at about $6.8 billion, and continues to increase by the day.

Last year, President Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Trump agreed that stronger cooperation is necessary in all fields, primarily trade. A $100-billion trade volume goal was set in the context for bilateral trade relations.

Though, politically, troubles are greater in contrast to trade relations. It is very clear that particularly the July 15 coup attempt experienced in 2016 during Obama’s term was U.S.-based. Furthermore, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the ringleader in this uprising, still residing in the U.S. and their insistence on not extraditing him to Turkey, as well as the support to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) terror graoups in Syria, top the list of problems between the two countries. The matter concerning the purchase and testing of the S-400 missile system, and Turkey’s attitude in the East Mediterranean and the Caucasus, also appear as other important issues disturbing the U.S.

However, Turkey’s position as a powerful and effective ally in NATO, its support for the fronts against Russia in Syria and Libya, will obligate the U.S. to cooperate with Turkey in this region.

A collective evaluation of these matters shows that regardless of who wins the U.S. elections, these problems are on the table, and both sides are somewhat obligated towards one another for their own national interests. Therefore, both sides will continue to insist on their demands. However, this will not result in a U.S. sanction.

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