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Biden and Erdoğan in 2016. Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Ankara — The incoming Biden administration's foreign policy priorities and worldview will collide with those of the Turkish government on several issues.

Why it matters: The U.S. needs its NATO ally Turkey for its efforts to contain Russia, counter Iran and deal with other crises in the Middle East. But relations between Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to be strained.

Erdoğan forged close personal ties with Trump, who prevented the implementation of sanctions against Turkey over business dealings with Iran and its purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system. (The S-400 purchase did lead the U.S. to expel Turkey from the F-35 program.)

  • Trump also gave Erdoğan an almost free hand in his military operations in Syria.
  • What to watch: After Trump leaves office, Ankara will no longer benefit from this shield. Potential sanctions under a less friendly White House would not only damage the economy, but also undermine the international prestige of a NATO ally.

Driving the news: Erdoğan was the last leader of a NATO ally to acknowledge Biden’s victory. Meanwhile, Turkey’s main secular opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) immediately congratulated him.

Flashback: Biden and Erdoğan have history. Back in 2014, a diplomatic crisis emerged between the two countries after Biden dropped a bombshell during an interview with the New York Times.

  • Biden called Erdoğan an "autocrat" and said he would support the opposition's efforts to defeat him.
  • Biden also implied that Turkey had helped the rise of ISIS by letting foreign fighters cross the border into Syria. He ultimately had to offer Erdoğan an official apology.

What they're saying: Biden’s 2014 remarks recently went viral in Turkey, leading Erdoğan to criticize him again.

  • “Politicians in the U.S. don't even feel the need to hide their fascist plans about Turkey. They also don't hesitate to say in front of cameras that they want to achieve what they couldn't do with a coup by supporting the opposition," Erdoğan said after a Cabinet meeting. 

State of play: Erdoğan took several major domestic political steps in recent days, including replacing the central bank governor, which led to the resignation of the finance minister (who also happens to be his son-in-law).

  • Later, Erdoğan announced an upcoming wave of democratic reforms, without revealing any details.
  • He sent warm messages to both the EU and the U.S., saying that Turkey’s place is nowhere other than in Europe and that he wants to cooperate more closely with the U.S. 

What’s next: If Erdoğan wants to avoid a crisis with the Biden administration, he could freeze the S-400 deal with Russia, make symbolic democratic reforms or accommodate the Kurdish PYD forces in Syria.

  • Such policies would require U-turns on a number of issues, but Erdoğan has proven to be pragmatic enough in the past.

Go deeper

Jan 20, 2021 - World

Iran lays out "road map" for nuclear talks with Biden

Khamenei earlier this month. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Iran has been accumulating bargaining chips and laying out its strategy for engagement with Joe Biden, who arrives in office promising to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear deal if Iran returns to compliance.

Why it matters: Recent statements from Iran's leaders indicate that they're willing to strike such a deal. But the sides differ over who will have to make the first move, and when.

Trump PACs raise over $82M for first half of 2021

Former President Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump's political action committees (PACs) raised more than $82 million in the first half of 2021, per Federal Election Commission filings published on Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant amount for a former president who's been banned from major social media platforms. It demonstrates his ability to raise huge sums of money should he choose to run for the presidency for a third time.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Caeleb Dressel celebrates winning gold in the final of the men's 50m freestyle swimming event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gameson Sunday. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

🚨: Simone Biles won't compete in Olympic floor finals, individual vault or uneven bars

🏊: U.S. wins gold in men's 4x100-meter medley relay, earning Caeleb Dressel fifth gold — American Bobby Finke wins gold in men's 1,500-meter freestyle

🏊‍♀️: Katie Ledecky wins gold in women's 800m freestyle

🇬🇧: Britain wins gold in new BMX freestyle category and gold in first-ever Olympic mixed 4x100m medley relay

💻: Japan tests teleporting games and "remote cheering"

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage