Turkey’s Erdogan and Trump Are in a Chess Match, but Neither Has the Temperament to Play

Trump and Erdogan don’t have the patience or temperament to patch up relations diplomatically, but they share critical interests that could force a reconciliation

By Zvi Bar’el

At around 2 P.M. on Black Friday, Turkish Finance and Treasury Minister (and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) Berat Albayrak finished speaking at a press conference to which he had invited a number of businesspeople. Albayrak, who was sworn in barely a month ago, promised his listeners that he planned to implement a new economic program, to preserve the independence of the central bank and to strengthen the Turkish lira.

Albayrak is not an inspiring public speaker, in contrast to his father-in-law. The businesspeople nodded slightly; it appeared as if the lira was willing to give him a chance when it nudged above the depths of the abyss into which it had fallen. But then, with timing that was anything but random, U.S. President Donald Trump fired the cruel tweet announcing the doubling of tariffs on imports of Turkish steel and aluminum, to 20 and 50 percent, respectively. The lira couldn’t withstand the new pressure and plunged to the vicinity of 6 lira to the dollar. World currency markets soon followed.

Read more at https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-trump-and-erdogan-s-game-of-diplomatic-chess-1.6365241