Diplomatic relationships change with changing times. A foe today might become an ally tomorrow, and vice versa. At the G20 Summit that was held in China’s Hangzhou, the change in the direction of wind was apparent.
— Nour Samaha (@Nour_Samaha) September 4, 2016
Take a look at this picture posted by a Twitter user Nour Samaha. She has juxtaposed two images of the gathering of world leaders at G20 — one from 2016 and the other from last year. In the group photo, US President Barack Obama can be seen looking at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who stands on the other end, far away from Obama. While Obama looks on intently, Erdogan can be seen engrossed in a chat with his newfound friend Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.
Now, let’s have a look at last year’s image of the same platform. There is an apparent role-reversal between Putin and Obama with reference to Erdogan. In 2015, the two leaders, Obama and Erdogan can be seen standing next to each other, exchanging smiles, while Russia’s Putin, standing in a corner, looks on.
So what has changed between Turkey and the US in the past one year?
To begin with, the failed coup in July has strained the relationship between the two former friends. Russia blamed Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based leader of the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO), for the coup and asked the US to extradite him. However, the US has been reluctant to do so, saying it might take time as extradition is a judicial process. The two countries are also sharply divided over strategy for combating the Islamic State in Syria.
Another drastic difference between the pictures from two years is the presence of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in 2015 and her absence this time around, following her impeachment last week after being mired in a corruption scandal for a long time.