The first evaluations made after Joe Biden came to power in the U.S. were that American-Russian and American-Turkish relations would simultaneously go south. The statements made by Biden and his team during his election campaign quite blatantly supported such comments. According to the Democrats, Biden turned a blind eye to the Russian meddling in U.S. elections, for his own benefit, of course, and in return showed a degree of “tolerance” to the Federation. To add fuel to the fire, he undermined and neglected NATO and the bond between the U.S. and E.U. Russia, with this wind at its back, therefore, had the audacity to take on NATO. Trump had put China on the target board. Whereas, issues with China could have been resolved through diplomatic channels. The real danger, as it had been so many years ago in the Cold War period, was Russia. Biden, for his part, had promised to restore NATO to its former glory.
When it comes to relations between the U.S. and Turkey, all the cards were on the table. Trump had also neglected Turkey, and Erdogan, who used this to his advantage, teamed up with Russia and Iran. Shattering the glass ceilings of NATO, he opened up an area of maneuver for himself. Hence, Erdogan became a threat that must be eliminated at once, and platforms like Astana and Sochi must be dissolved.
However, events did not progress on this trajectory. U.S.-E.U. contacts proved futile. The latest NATO Summit turned out to be a right fiasco. Then, finally, the U.S., U.K., and Australia joined forces, stabbing France in the back and completely ostracizing the EU, and established the AUKUS pact against China in the Pacific. Putin then talks to Biden and takes Russia out of the game (some circles also say they struck a deal) and announces an anti-China policy.
I will not be so bold as to claim that Biden’s pledges during his election campaign are wholly contrary to his actions. He had pledged that he would hold Israel, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries at arm's length, and that he would try and mend things with Iran. Now, we can more or less observe these pledges coming to life. His strict and uncompromising attitude towards Turkey was also put into practice.
This picture I am trying to draw completely threw the existing equation off balance, and in a very short time at that. The process rapidly brought Israel and Russia together. This rapport has rendered Russian-Iranian relations, especially in terms of Syria, more “problematic,” and Turkey’s relations with both Russia and Iran more “fraught” than ever. The tremors in Turkey-Russia relations are currently being balanced by the personal ties that the Erdogan-Putin duo have developed over time. But to what extent, this we cannot predict. What really matters is what's going on in two different "inner lanes."
The first is the policies adopted by Turkey in Russia’s “sensitive” spots on the issues of Ukraine and Crimea. The steps taken by Turkey, the military and strategic support it provides to Ukraine, and the approach that rejects the annexation of Crimea have infuriated Putin's security bureaucracy. Putin is pacifying them for now. The other matter is the events in Caucasia.
The alliance between Azerbaijan and Turkey, and furthermore Pakistan, is really getting on Iran’s last nerve, as tensions mount between Tehran and Ankara. Even more striking is Israel’s presence in Azerbaijan, which I have drawn attention to since the beginning, repeatedly emphasizing that I find it problematic. This is the first time Israel has gotten this close to Iran. This is what’s driving Iran up the wall. What matters now, is how relations between Baku and Tel Aviv will move forward. Considering the current state of Turkey-Israel relations, we see that this trajectory has some very thought-provoking aspects. Or rather, the rift between Turkey and Iran growing would serve both Russian and American interests in terms of their Caucasia policies. On the other hand, Israel will benefit monumentally from escalating this tension. Finally, the tension between Turkey and Iran will please the EU, especially France, which enjoys close relations with Iran. Backing Turkey into a corner from the East after being pressured by Greece-Egypt-Israel from the West, as well as Gulf states, and finally by India, will wrap this equation nicely in a bow.
We must not forget the wave of Arab nationalism on the basis of the “dam issue” formed by Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which includes Iraq and Syria, too. The goal of this wave is to simultaneously depose Turkey and Iran from Iraq and Syria.
It should not be forgotten that there are dimensions of the matter that should also be evaluated through the flow of energy. Iran's intention is to render Turkey ineffective on the energy flow map and become a monopoly. To this end, it attempts to hinder the expansion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan line from expanding in such a way that will include Turkmenistan’s fuel and natural gas.
In its stead, it wants to materialize a Shiite pipeline through Iraq and Syria. Russia, for its part, is against any alternative that isn’t TurkStream.
In a nutshell, it looks like dramatic developments await us in the days ahead...