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Intel: Why Khashoggi affair won’t resolve US-Turkey tensions

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu before their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool - RC155B9647D0

The apparent murder in Istanbul of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has fueled speculation that Turkey could use the global scandal to help reset its badly bruised relations with the United States. Some opine that Ankara can milk the Washington Post columnist’s disappearance to extract concessions from Washington on a range of issues including Syria and sanctions. Others think the Donald Trump administration can even be convinced to pull its support for the crown prince, a Turkish bugbear due to his hard line on the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar.

Why it matters: The US-Turkish relationship has been in virtual free fall ever since the July 2016 attempt to violently overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For the first time there’s even been talk — albeit overwrought — of Turkey getting kicked out of NATO. An unstable and unpredictable Turkey cast adrift, with its 3.5 million Syrian refugees, would spell big trouble for Europe and attendant benefits for Russia, ever eager to deepen the wedge with the West.

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