Turkey Program Coordinator Merve Tahiroğlu published an opinion piece, “Biden can’t let Turkey’s Erdoğan get away with his threats to Americans any longer,” in NBC THINK on Friday. The piece examines the imprisonment of Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala and Turkish-American academic Henri Barkey and how Biden ought to step in.

President Joseph Biden’s pledge to put democracy and human rights at the center of American foreign policy faces an early test Friday in Turkey, a NATO ally that has become increasingly authoritarian over the past decade. Passing this test is crucial given that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s repressive rule poses a danger not just for American interests, but also for American citizens.

President Donald Trump famously embraced Erdoğan’s autocratic abuses, while President Barack Obama mostly ignored them. Unfortunately, both approaches left a permissive international environment for Erdoğan to dismantle Turkish democracy and turn Turkey into a more repressive, aggressive and anti-Western country.

Biden has an immediate opportunity to change course and show support for democratic values in Turkey.

Read the full op-ed here.

Photo Credit: NBC Think