Saudi Arabia's handling of Khashoggi's killing is a golden opportunity for Turkey

Lately, and perhaps of greatest long-term importance to America’s interests in the region, Turkey’s role as a go-between with Russia and Iran helped lead to a reduction in fighting in parts of northern Syria as Turkey sought to make good on a pledge to Russia to disarm some of the rebel factions it has supported. This conflict, that promised earlier this year to become the last major bloodbath in that country’s civil war has since cooled considerably, at least for the moment — again playing into Trump’s deep interest in disengaging with some degree of honor from that conflict.

But now with both Saudi Arabia and Trump belatedly conceding Jamal Khashoggi is dead, it would appear that the U.S. president may have to keep playing, in some fashion, the complex three-dimensional chess game into which his Saudi allies and Turkey have thrust him. Moreover, while Trump has tied his fortunes in the region heavily to Saudi Arabia, its arms purchases and its hammerlock on the oil market, he cannot be entirely unhappy that it’s Turkey and Erdoğan — who he fist-bumped and called his “great friend” as recently as July — is playing such a key role here.