A member of Joe Biden’s “inner circle” blasted Turkey’s foreign involvement on Monday, saying the moves were “not the actions of an ally” of the United States.
Michael Carpenter, a former adviser to Biden when he served as vice president, is likely to be a “key staffer” to Biden during his presidency, according to the Atlantic Council.
While Carpenter acknowledged Turkey as a “NATO ally and strategic partner for the United States,” he said that Ankara has “engaged in a number of different arenas where it is acting irresponsibly and aggressively.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ramped up Turkish presence in a number of key regional disputes over the last year.
Turkey is “undermining what we think are our shared interests – whether it be Nagorno-Karabakh or whether it be Libya, or tensions in the Aegean, or whether it be the purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia,” said Carpenter during a virtual panel hosted by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.
“This is a set of problems that require a lot of attention at the very start of the next administration,” he said.
Biden said last year that the US should be taking “a very different approach” to Erdogan.
“He has to pay a price for whether or not we’re going to continue to sell certain weapons to him,” Biden said in an interview with the New York Times.
Erdogan’s foreign policy
Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become involved in conflicts in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, while isolating European nations like Greece and France over the eastern Mediterranean dispute.
In January, Turkey became directly involved in Libya’s civil war when its parliament approved Erdogan’s proposal to deploy troops to Tripoli, to help the Government of National Accord (GNA), which Turkey backs, compete for power in the country against the Libyan National Army (LNA).
In September, Turkey publicly backed Azerbaijan’s claims to the disputed province of Nagorno-Karabakh after tensions flared.
France and Armenia have accused Turkey of sending Syrian fighters to the region to support Azerbaijani forces against Armenian troops, but Turkish officials have denied these claims.
Seven European Union leader condemned Turkey’s expansionist actions in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean Sea in a September statement that warned of potential EU restrictive measures against Turkey.
Carpenter said that many of the US problems with Turkey will have to be resolved in coordination with the European Union.
The current Trump administration has warned Turkey of “potential serious consequences” for the US-Turkish relationship after Turkey tested its Russian-made S-400 defense systems last month.
State Department Spokesman Morgan Ortagus told Al Arabiya English at the time that the US “has been clear on our expectation that the S-400 system should not be operationalized.”
“We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences for our security relationship if Turkey activates the system,” said Ortagus.
Turkey confirmed the testing of the Russian defense systems it purchased in 2019, arguing that the move did not conflict with its NATO commitments.
“We are not going to ask America for permission,” said Erdogan.
Ortagus said the US condemns “in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States.”
Turkey and the US are both part of the 29-member international military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was founded to create a counterweight to the Soviet Union's military capabilities at the time of the organization's establishment.