01:11 GMT08 March 2021
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    Former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou claims that Erdogan recognizes that he needs to revive diplomatic and economic relations with Russia to prevent the United States and its allies from isolating him.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recognizes that he needs to revive diplomatic and economic relations with Russia to prevent the United States and its allies from isolating him, former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou told Sputnik.

    "Erdogan realizes that he has pushed his relationships with the United States and Russia too far," Kiriakou said on Wednesday. "You cannot threaten one country and then accuse the other of trying to overthrow your government without recriminations. So it's time to rebuild."

    Erdogan has reacted to strained ties with Washington following the failure of the July 15 coup plot by strengthening economic relations with Moscow. At a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, the Turkish leader agreed on measures to boost economic and other bilateral ties with Russia.

    Kiriakou said Erdogan’s main priority was to rebuild the close ties that generated as much as $100 billion in bilateral trade before Ankara outraged Moscow by shooting down a Russian bomber in Syrian air space last year.

    "The point is dialogue and trying to move the relationship back onto the right track," Kiriakou explained.

    Turkish government officials have accused the United States of supporting the failed July 15 military coup. As a result, popular and official distrust of Washington has risen to unprecedented levels in Turkey.

    In response, US Secretary of State John Kerry "must begin rebuilding the bilateral relationship. Whether true or not, Ankara believes that Washington was behind the coup," Kiriakou acknowledged.

    Kerry therefore faces the uphill challenge of trying to persuade Erdogan to trust the US government again, Kiriakou pointed out.

    "The first thing Kerry must do is to try to restore trust and to express support for Turkish democracy. The rest will take time and will be up to the next [US] president," he concluded.

    Kiriakou gained international recognition as the only person the US government sent to prison for exposing the George W. Bush administration's torture program.


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    isolation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Russia
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