Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently threatened to expel ten ambassadors, including the U.S.’s. How serious was this? What was the purpose of the threat? And what about the recent chatter about a new Turkish incursion into Syria? Historian and author Sami Moubayed explains:
Regarding President Erdogan’s threat to expel 10 foreign ambassadors, including the Ambassador of the United States from Turkey last week, it seemed like big news, it seemed like something serious and something grave. One week down the road it looks like more of a PR stunt. President Erdogan has often relied on such a tactic, of speaking big words, carrying a big stick like Teddy Roosevelt used to do, but not of all of his threats materialized and clearly from this one, it too, has not. The ambassador has not been expelled, and far from it. There is an upcoming meeting between Erdogan and Biden this week, and I think the entire threat of expelling the American ambassador was to maximize concessions from President Biden ahead of this week’s summit. Erdogan has an ambition of launching a new military operation in Syria to overtake the city of Tall Rifat in the Syrian north which he claims is home to Kurdish separatists who fled Afrin and other Kurdish areas back in 2018. Now, he has repeatedly requested the green light to advance further into Syrian territory. He did not get that green light.