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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Lviv, Ukraine.

Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Turkish Presidential Press Office via Reuters

What We're Watching: Erdogan's diplomacy, carnage at Kabul mosque, US-Taiwan trade talks

Erdogan is everywhere

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been very busy this week. On Thursday, he flew to Lviv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Turkish president’s first visit to Ukraine since Russia’s war began six months ago. Erdogan, who has tried to position himself as an elder statesman and mediator between Kyiv and Moscow, vowed to help rebuild Ukrainian infrastructure just weeks after brokering a deal with Russia to resume Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports amid a global food crisis. The trio also discussed efforts to secure a contested nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. This comes a week after Erdogan held a face-to-face with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, where they pledged to boost energy cooperation. What’s more, Erdogan’s Ukraine trip came just one day after Ankara announced it was restoring full diplomatic ties with Israel. Indeed, Erdogan is looking to get wins wherever he can as he tries to divert attention from Ankara’s deepening economic woes. In a move that made many economists shudder, Turkey’s central bank on Thursday further slashed interest rates to 13% despite the fact that inflation has topped a whopping 80%. Loosening monetary policy to boost growth has long been Erdogan’s shtick, but as a cost of living crisis continues to hurt Turks, his ruling party is falling in the polls less than a year out from elections.

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TITLE PLACEHOLDER | The Red Pen | GZERO Media

Biden's mistakes in Afghanistan were not "dereliction of duty"

In his latest Washington Post op-ed, Marc Thiessen makes strong statements about how and why the Taliban came to take control of Kabul. There have been big mistakes in executing this exit. But "dereliction of duty?" Not in our view. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst explain why in this edition of The Red Pen.

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Kabul Attack Poses Political Risks for Biden | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Kabul attack poses political risks for Biden

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

How will the Kabul airport attack influence the US evacuations?

Well, so far it looks like President Biden is on track to keep the August 31st deadline for evacuating, for finishing evacuations and leaving Afghanistan fully. However, there's still somewhere in the range of about a thousand American citizens, plus potentially tens of thousands of special immigrant visa holders who are Afghani citizens that helped the United States, that could potentially be left behind because of this expedited withdrawal schedule. This is a real risk for Biden.

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Afghan carnage

Thursday marked the deadliest day for US troops in Afghanistan in a decade. Twin explosions were reported outside Kabul's airport, killing dozens of people, including at least 90 Afghans and 13 US service members — the first US military deaths in the country since February 2020. Details are still coming to light, but harrowing images have been circulating online, showing pools of blood on the outskirts of the airport and desperate Afghans scurrying to get medical care.

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