Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 26, 2018. Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump doubled the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum on Friday, causing the Turkish lira to plunge by 16%. The higher tariffs come amid tensions over American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is detained in Turkey, and Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the U.S. has refused to extradite from Pennsylvania despite Turkey's allegations of his ties to the failed July 2016 coup.

The big picture: While President Trump himself benefits politically from a trade war with allies, it is actually Russia that stands most to gain from a weakened Turkey. Despite the amicable diplomatic and military coordination between President Erdogan and President Putin in Syria, Russia views Turkey as a geopolitical threat in Eurasia. Russia has attempted to use the Astana peace process to keep its Turkish adversary close, and a widening rift between Washington and Ankara will ultimately redound to Putin's benefit.

Turkey is attempting to reduce economic dependence on Russia by diversifying its sources of natural gas, most notably with the construction of the TurkStream and Trans Anatolian Natural Gas (TANAP) pipelines. These projects would transform Turkey into a hub for the transit of natural gas from Central Asia through Europe, providing Europe an alternative to Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and allowing Turkey to flex political muscle across Eurasia. But the tariffs may hinder these plans.

Against this backdrop, Assad has been consolidating control over Syria, with Turkey defending its stake in Idlib, the last armed opposition stronghold in Syria. Turkey's opposition runs counter to Russia's aim to help Syrian President Assad retake all of Syria, and Russia will now look to squeeze Turkey even further, this time by its proxy in Damascus. Already hosting 3.5 million Syrian refugees, Turkey could soon face another humanitarian crisis if Idlib, with a population of around 1 million people, suffers the same fate of other Syrian cities that refused to surrender to Assad.

What's next: It is unlikely that Turkey will capitulate to Russia in Syria. Should the country find itself strained to handle a currency collapse and a crisis on its southern border as a result of these latest tariffs, relations between Turkey and the West could be bruised for a long time. Putin will continue to use his proxies in Washington and Damascus to defang geopolitical competition.

Adham Sahloul is a masters candidate in international political economy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a former researcher at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios