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Erdogan is 'Implicitly Fueling' Anti-Americanism in Post-Coup Turkey

© AP Photo / Emrah GurelA pro-government supporter waves a Turkish flag and one with the picture of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, during a rally on the road leading to Istanbul's iconic Bosporus Bridge, Thursday, July 21, 2016
A pro-government supporter waves a Turkish flag and one with the picture of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, during a rally on the road leading to Istanbul's iconic Bosporus Bridge, Thursday, July 21, 2016 - Sputnik International
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been "implicitly fueling, if not yet formally endorsing" the already potent anti-American wave in Turkey as a means to pursue his domestic and foreign policy objectives, Burak Kadercan, an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy at the United States Naval War College, wrote for the National Interest.

Well-pronounced anti-American sentiments have been a distinctive feature of the Turkish society for decades. As many as 90 percent of the Turks held an unfavorable view of the US, according to a study released in 2012. A report, published by the Pew Research Center in July 2014, showed that more than 63 percent of Turkish people had an unfavorable view of the US in the past decade.

Interestingly, anti-Americanism, according to Kadercan, is "shared by all ethnic, religious and political groups, and cannot be explained by differences in education or income levels."

However, the analyst maintained that these sentiments are "harmless" and do not affect Ankara's foreign policy. In other words, Turkey will not break up with the West simply because public opinion seems to favor such a move.

Present-day anti-Americanism in Turkey "will not lead to a breakup between Turkey and the United States all by itself – that is, unless President Erdogan consciously decides to sever ties with the US. If he ever makes such a decision, then anti-Americanism will be his way of convincing Turks that it is time to turn away from the West, not a force compelling his behavior," he explained.

© REUTERS / REUTERSPeople Stand On A Turkish Army Tank At Ataturk Airport In Istanbul
People Stand On A Turkish Army Tank At Ataturk Airport In Istanbul - Sputnik International
People Stand On A Turkish Army Tank At Ataturk Airport In Istanbul

Kadercan is also convinced that President Erdogan "can certainly control" the latest wave of anti-Americanism that was sparked by the failed military coup and Washington's reserved response to it.

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Ankara wanted the US and its other partners to sympathize with the Turkish people and their ordeal. Instead, the US has been critical of the post-coup purges and has yet not approved the extradition of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan and his supporters accuse of masterminding the putsch.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been "implicitly fueling" anti-American sentiments, because he "is weaponizing it to pursue his political objectives at home and overseas," the analyst observed. "In domestic politics, he is building on anti-Americanism to consolidate his political popularity in the aftermath of the failed coup."

The Turkish leader, according to Kadercan, will put an end to this strategy if he needs to.

"Make no mistake: Erdogan will not only stop fueling anti-Americanism, but also put a lid on it – when, of course, he thinks it no longer serves a purpose," he said.

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