The deepening diplomatic pact between Turkey and Russia represents yet another damning indictment of the Obama Administration’s ability to maintain relations with Washington’s traditional allies in the Middle East. Western diplomats regard the decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to restore relations with Moscow last month as part of a carefully-coordinated attempt by Ankara to build a new power base in the region.

For decades Turkey, a key NATO member, has said that it wants to forge closer ties with the West, to the extent that Turkish diplomats insist that Ankara is still serious about joining the European Union. But the increasingly hard-line Islamist approach taken by Mr Erdogan in the wake of the failed military coup, which has seen tens of thousands of judges, academics and journalists forced from their jobs, has caused the Turkish government to realise the prospects of maintaining relations with its Western allies are remote so long as it continues with the current crack-down. CONTINUE