US-Turkish Relations Reached Point of No Return #TurkeyUS
Ankara needs to withstand Washington’s pressure, Turkish analysts told Sputnik, commenting on the recent US-Turkish spat over the fate of American pastor Andrew Brunson, previously arrested in Turkey.
According to the analysts, relations between Ankara and Washington have reached the point of no return.
US-Turkish relations are heading for a breakup, Turkish analysts told Sputnik, suggesting that Washington is treating Ankara not as its partner, but as a “colony.”
“The political crisis periodically manifests itself in various spheres of relations between Turkey and the United States,” retired Major General Ahmet Yavuz told Sputnik Turkey. “The investigation into [American] pastor [Andrew] Brunson is yet another vivid manifestation [of the crisis]. The United States, albeit to varying degrees, targets Russia, Iran and Turkey. On the one hand, the US wants to continue to work with these countries (with the exception of Iran), and on the other hand, tries to put pressure on them in various ways.”
On August 1, Washington introduced sanctions against Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu over Brunson’s imprisonment, announcing that it would freeze the two ministers’ assets abroad and prohibit US citizens from engaging in any transactions with the two Turkish ministerial officials.
For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered to freeze the Turkish assets of the US justice and interior ministers as a tit-for-tat measure.
Brunson was arrested in October 2016 over his alleged ties to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen and his movement following the attempted July coup in Turkey. The pastor has been placed under house arrest after being released from a Turkish prison.
“We do not have complete information on the Brunson case, but the US position on this issue is unacceptable from all points of view,” the retired major general underscored. “This refers to Washington’s approach, in which Turkey is viewed as a colony, and statements are made about the need to choose this or that punishment against Ankara. Washington considers Ankara an easy target, which further exacerbates the situation, since this issue affects interstate relations.”
According to Yavuz, as long as the US does not take real steps towards Gulen’s extradition and the return of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, deputy general manager of Halkbank arrested in the US, and his co-defendants to Turkey, Washington should not expect Ankara to turn toward the US.
He opined that the Turkish government could even go so far as to close the Incirlik and Kucerik bases, foreseeing that the move may lead to new reciprocal steps and an eventual breakup between Ankara and Washington.
Hasan Unal, head of the department of international relations at Atilim University in Ankara, echoed Yavuz by saying that from the beginning of the Cold War, the US had seen Turkey as its “colony.”
“Turkish-American relations have reached the point of no return,” Unal said. “Turkey and the US’ positions do not coincide on virtually every issue… This includes US pressure on [Turkey] in regard to the withdrawal of the Turkish military from Cyprus, the lack of the US support to Turkey in the Aegean Sea, the recognition of the events of 1915 as genocide by the US and, more importantly, Washington’s support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) within the framework of the project to create an independent Kurdish state.”
The scholar pointed out that the US wouldn’t achieve anything through a policy of threats, especially when it comes to the Brunson case. He also suggested that Turkey should not immediately close the bases in Incirlik and Kucerik, “but to hold them as the main trump card.”
Simultaneously, Ankara needs to sort out its pressing foreign policy issues, including the relations with Syria, Egypt and Israel, he noted.
“The uncertainty over the situation in Syria prevents Turkey from reaching full understanding with Iran and Russia; in this situation it is much more difficult for [Ankara] to resist the United States’ pressure. It is necessary to establish a dialogue with Syria, resume relations with Egypt, and at least not to be in a state of enmity with Israel,” Unal presumed.
According to the scholar, Turkey needs to make it clear to Washington that it will not succumb to its pressure; otherwise the US could gain an upper hand both in regional politics and matters related to the anti-Iran sanctions.
Originally published in https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201808081067026063-us-turkey-relations/