ISTANBUL – He did not get everything he wanted.
For a few weeks, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey has tried to undermine his regional rival, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia with a clever intrusion of intelligence leaks connecting the prince to a cruel crime: the killing of a dissident, Jamal Khashoggi.
President Trump’s statement on Tuesday clarified that the United States would hold on to its Saudi allies and left Erdogans greatest ambition – sidelined its rival and reform of American policy in the Middle East ̵
“This is not credible,” Numan Kurtulmus, Vice-President of the Political Party of Erdog, told reporters on Tuesday and dismissed Trump’s statement that nobody really knew who was responsible for ordering Mr. Khashoggi’s death to be “comic”.
But that does not necessarily mean that Mr Erdogan lost the geopolitical battle about the consequences of killing.  If anything, the Turkish President can now be better than he was when Mr. Khashoggi disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul seven weeks ago.
Mr. Erdogan, who has been widely criticized for unlocks more than 100,000 people since attempting a coup two years ago, has had a lot of need for international stature from the fall. He has successfully asserted the US President’s moral high ground, and he still has pressure on Saudi Arabia.
He stands with the overwhelming majority of people in the Arab world, says Asli Aydintasbas, senior with the European Council for Foreign Relations. “People are upset, and they think Erdogan is on the right side.”
“Over the Arab world there is real appreciation for what Erdogan stands for,” she added. “That’s what he cares about and that’s what matters to him.”
In addition, the Khudoggi case allowed Mr Erdogan to soften his authoritarian image in the West and potentially build a certain speed in repairing deeply strained relations with the United Kingdom States.
By constantly flipping out petty details about killing, Mr. Erdogan has found a common cause with American legislators who were upset by Saudi Arabia’s furious tactics. Before there were any US politicians more focused on throwing Turkey, a second NATO member, to return to democracy and buy an anti-defensive defense system from the Russians.
“The biggest benefit has been with the Erdogan earning the political capital of Washington, which will be useful,” said Sinan Ulgen, a former diplomat for Turkey and the president of the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies in Istanbul.
Although he failed to shift the policy within the Trump Administration, Mr. Erdogan is unlikely to let the Khashoggi fall go. Turkey has demanded a UN investigation into the killing and continues to demand answers, just cutting the weapons of the Saudi prince, as Mr Erdogan sees as a threat.
At the height of the store, Turkish officials urged Washington to move their alliances in the Middle East, hoping to tie the United States away from the magic monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as from the secular military leadership in Egypt.
Turkey is square with Saudi Arabia on a number of fronts, including the state’s dispute with Qatar. Mr Erdogan’s government also opposes US sanctions against Iran and puts it directly into conflict with the Saudi crown prince, often known by its initials, MBS, which described Turkey as part of an “evil triangle”.
“It was a far-reaching idea that Trump would release MBS,” said Ulgen. “There will be some disappointment in Ankara, but also realism.”
In fact, Turkey expected Trump’s position from the beginning, Mrs Aydintasbas claimed.
“Erdogan is a clever politician and has had a long time,” she said. “He can see where Trump comes from,” she added. “They seem to agree.”
Despite the continued anti-American feeling commonly used by the Turkish government, there is evidence that both sides want to repair relationships.
“You can see a wish in Ankara to normalize relationships with the United States,” said Aydintasbas. “There is also a clear wish on Trump’s side to make relations with Turkey. Erdogan does not want to destroy it.”
The last month’s release by an American evangelist pressress, Andrew Brunson, relieved Erdog’s relations with the White House and the Congress, so that they could proceed on other disputes that had brought about relations to an all-time low during the past year.
Washington has already signaled that it does more to investigate a Pennsylvania-based preacher, Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of initiating the attempted coup in 2016.
The two nations have also begun joint patrols in Manbij, northern Syria, where Turkey and the United States have been in loggerheads. Washington supports Kurdish forces in the region, but Turkey considers them to be a serious threat to security.
On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that he agreed that Trump decided in Saudi Arabia without supporting Turkish status that the ordering party should be disclosed.
Many countries did not want to fall out with Saudi Arabia during the murder, he said. “We do not want it either, but the murder will be apparent,” he said, according to the Semi-Anadolu news agency.
Mr. Cavusoglu was in Washington on Wednesday for scheduled meetings to deal with several of the outstanding disputes between the two countries. These include a subsequent fine on the Turkish state bank, Halkbank, to violate US sanctions against Iran, as well as to imprison US citizens and three Turkish consular officers because of terrorism, which US officials call baseless.
Then there is the important front in Syria.
Mr. Erdogan is always in favor of United States support for Syrian Kurdish warriors, which he considers to be an extension of the Kurdish workers party, as Turkey, the United States and Europe have all designated a terrorist organization.
Although these issues remain between countries, Mr Erdogan is unlikely to waste the political capital he has received through the Khashoggi case, political observers in Turkey said.
He can still threaten to release the sound recordings of killing, which Turkish officials have said, level Saudi interference. But analysts say it’s a “nuclear alternative” that he probably will not use because it would essentially end his leverage.
On Wednesday, in a speech at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Mr Erdogan did not mention the Khashoggi case or Mr Trump’s statement on support for the Saudi crown prince.
Instead, the Turkish president was already in full campaign for local elections in March, which shows that national political problems still come first when he listed his latest enemies of the state
He entered the European Court of Human Rights for one decision requiring a Kurdish political leader, Selahattin Demirtas, to be released.
He condemned a captive philanthropist, Osman Kavala, who has been taken in his mailbox
He thundered at wholesalers as he accused of raising the price of onions and potatoes.
His nationalist stance must be seen in the light of local politics, Ulgen said.
Turkey’s economic difficulties, including a drastic fall in the lire and high inflation, mean that the Erdogan Justice and Development Party is in danger of losing some important municipalities in March.
“The members of the project to make Turkey kneeled, to make our country surrender still in solidarity,” told Erdogan, referring to supporters of popular protests in Gezi Park and Taksim Square in 2013.
“Those who praised Gezi, were not they who destroyed all windows, burned all around? Did they not burn the buses belonging to the state? Did they not burn the craftsmen’s shops? Will we tolerate them? “