Turkey in a new period: Challenges and opportunities
Who won Turkey? Implications from Erdoğan’s snap elections
The new geopolitics of Turkey and the West
He’ll [Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] have his picture with world leaders and say, ‘See, it’s all coming back to normal.’ He’s wrong. Saudi Arabia and MBS now are toxic, and will be as long as he’s in power... It’s not clear who botched up the coverup more, MBS or Trump... Among their many mistakes [was thinking that] Turkey really wouldn’t care about the murder. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] has played this brilliantly, humiliating the Saudis [and is] having the time of his life... It wasn’t the Miami Herald or a blog, which they might have ignored... The Post will never let this go.
One intelligence service [the Turkish] comes off as highly professional and competent. The other [the Saudi] comes off as inept, almost like Keystone cops. Of course, they are working in their home territory, but it has been impressive. On the other hand, the Saudis left behind so many clues of what they were up to. It is almost a case study on how not to carry out a covert operation.
The likelihood of Trump pressuring the [Saudi] king to rein in his son was always a risky bet, given the degree to which this administration has invested in the relationship. Thus far, Trump’s reaction has been consistent with his handling of other policy challenges: punt to Congress.
Erdogan’s ultimate aim is inflicting maximum damage on MBS, which entails either removing him completely or at least reducing his control over foreign policy. As there are limits to what Turkey can achieve alone, Ankara presumably hopes that Trump and/or the Saudi king will take action.
I think [President Erdoğan] shared some details [about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his speech to the Turkish parliament] which certainly gave high-level cover to a lot of the information that Turkish officials had been leaking to the press... Erdoğan was very deferential to King Salman in his remarks, and I think in his ideal world, King Salman would either remove [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] from a position of authority or at minimum remove his control over foreign policy... Secondarily, it was directed at the Trump administration. Presumably, [CIA Director Gina Haspel] is getting more detailed information from the Turks, and I think Erdoğan is going to be looking to the U.S. to put pressure on Saudi to try to limit the Crown Prince’s control over foreign policy.
Initially, it seemed Turkey was seeking a bargain with or financial support from Saudi Arabia. But it increasingly appears that Turkey is seeking to inflict maximum damage on [Mohammad bin Salman].