How Will Erdogan Retaliate Against Biden's Saying 'Genocide?'
A motorist drives in central Istanbul. (Emrah Gurel/AP)
By John Gizzi | Monday, 26 April 2021 04:28 PM
Forty eight hours ago, President Biden finally issued a statement to which other presidents came close but never fully reached: that the events of 106 years ago resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians were an “Armenian genocide” at the hands of the Ottoman Empire—the forerunner of today’s Turkey.
On Monday, official Washington was buzzing with speculation over just how Turkey’s strongman President Recip Tayyip Erdogan would react to the controversial declaration.
Already, the Turkish government called in U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield and gave him the traditional diplomatic “dressing down.”
But Erdogan-watchers expect the president—who calls the events of 1915 “the so-called Armenian Genocide lie”—will go much farther.
The scenario that most worries U.S. officials is that he will suspend operations at Incirlik Air Force base, which lies 19.8 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.
Incirlik is a pivotal base of operations in the Middle East, and one that the Turkish Air Force shares with the U.S. Air Force. It is also sometimes used by the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Spanish Army 74th Anti-Aircraft Aritllery.
Another source of worry about Turkey for the U.S. is the possibility it could step up strikes against the Kurdish community in North Syria. The Kurds are sworn enemies of the Turks and allies of the U.S.
Since 2016, the conflict between the Turkish government forces and the Kurds extended into Syrian territory. There, Turkey has fought against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Kurdish counterpart of the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) based in Turkey.
Another source of worry about Turkey for the U.S. could be realized in days. On April 27, a conference will commence in Geneva, Switzerland, on reunification of the Greek and Turkish portions of Cyprus. Since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the island nation has been split between Greek Cypriots in the South and Turkish Cypriots in the North.
“Erdogan could walk out and blow the whole conference up,” a Greek-American businessman who requested anonymity told Newsmax.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.