Tension Mars US-Turkish relations Despite Truc

US researcher to Majalla: Turkey can no longer be allowed to violate human rights
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and United States President Joe Biden (L) seen during a bilateral meeting in New York, USA, when Biden was vice-president on September 25, 2014.

Despite the relentless attempts by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restore his country's foreign relations after their worsening for years, he recently launched a verbal war against the United States after he criticized US President Joe Biden for supplying Israel with weapons.

He considered that his hands were "stained with Palestinian blood" after the Israeli escalation. That heralds a new crisis between Ankara and Washington, especially since Biden condemned Erdogan’s statements describing them as “incitement to violence."

A US researcher specializing in US-Turkish relations said that there is a specific proposal to punish Turkey for its human rights abuses, but there is an emphasis in the Biden administration on human rights.

“The feeling is that Turkey should no longer get a free pass for its human rights violations, so it is fair game for the administration to raise the issue in public and in private with Turkush officials. This is a change from the Trump administration, which did not make any effort on this front,” well-known American researcher Aaron Stein, who is the director of research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), told Majalla.

Aaron Stein, director of research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI)

Stein added that there may be a push in the congress to use global magnitsky sanctions on Turkish officials, but it is unclear if this is coordinated with the White House. 

“The relationship is already bad, so it is hard to see how they could get any worse. But, sure, if there were any more sanctions on Turkish officials, the relationship would deteriorate further,” he added.

Aaron, who was previously a resident researcher at the Atlantic Council Foundation, revealed that "there is pressure in Congress to use severe and decisive sanctions on Turkish officials," noting that "such sanctions may be in coordination between Congress and the White House."

The head of the Turkish Presidency's Communication Department, Fakhruddin Aalton, confirmed in a tweet on his official account before Tel Aviv announced a truce with the Palestinians under Egyptian auspices, that "the US statement about President Erdogan's statements regarding Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians is totally unacceptable.”

At the time, Alton added that "the accusation of anti-Semitism against Erdogan is horrific," describing Washington's response to his statements as "cowardly", and that he aims to "divert international attention from Tel Aviv's crimes against humanity."

The statements of the head of the Turkish Presidency's Communication Department came a day after the US State Department condemned the Turkish President’s statements, which it considered "anti-Semitic," calling on him to avoid "incitement that might lead to further violence" in the Middle East.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week that "Washington strongly condemns President Erdogan's recent anti-Semitic statements."

After the US statement, Omer Celik, the official spokesman for the ruling "Justice and Development" party led by Erdogan, wrote in a tweet on his account, in which he said, "The accusation of our president of anti-Semitism stems from an illogical and wrong approach and it is a lie against him."

The spokesman for the Turkish presidency, İbrahim Kalın, also considered the US accusations of anti-Semitism to Erdogan as "unacceptable and unrelated to reality," according to what was quoted by the state-run Anadolu Agency.

According to the agency, Kalın added that  the United States linking anti-Semitism with Erdogan's standing "on the side of the oppressed Palestinian people and exposing Israel's stances against the law and human values ​​is a tragic and comic approach."

Cautious calm prevails throughout the Gaza Strip days after Tel Aviv and the Palestinian armed factions reached a truce under the auspices of Cairo and after the Israeli air and artillery bombardment of the Strip continued for 11 days.

Various international parties have expressed their welcome to the truce between Tel Aviv and Hamas, with Egyptian mediation, as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres affirmed that "Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility that goes beyond restoring calm, which is to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict."

US President Biden considered that "Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live in security and safety, and to enjoy equal degrees of freedom, prosperity and democracy."

The European Union and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi also welcomed the truce concluded between the two parties to the conflict.

The Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip killed more than 230 Palestinians, and injured about 2,000 others, in the most violent wave of escalation between the Gaza Strip and Tel Aviv since 2014.