US-Turkey tensions unabated

(VOVWORLD) - Relations between the two NATO allies, the US and Turkey, are tense over Turkey’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Instead of seeking a compromise, Turkey has accelerated cooperation with countries that are counterpoised to the US. Meanwhile, the US is exacerbating Turkey’s economic crisis.
US-Turkey tensions unabated - ảnh 1

Though the US and Turkey have met several times to discuss the situation, no progress has been made.

Dispute worsens

The US on August 1 issued sanctions against Turkish officials including Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül and Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu in retaliation for Turkey's detainment of US pastor Andrew Brunson who is accused of having links to terrorism. Two weeks later, President Donald Trump increased tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey, upsetting Turkish financial markets and pushing down the lira which has lost 30% of its value this year. Trump’s actions have worsened Turkey’s current economic difficulties. The US’s new military budget prohibits the delivery of F35 fighters to Turkey.

Turkey has called the US’s new tariffs a hostile attack on Turkey’s economy and Ankara has responded by increasing tariffs on US imports: 120% on US cars, 140% on alcoholic beverages, and 60% on cigarettes. US rice, cosmetics, and coal are also subject to additional tariffs. Turkey's increased tariffs have been imposed on items imported from the US totaling 533 million USD in extra duties.

On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected an appeal for Brunson’s release from house arrest during his trial.

Seeking new partners

Turkey provides the US more strategic benefits than economic benefits. Without Turkey’s help, it will be more difficult for the US to achieve its goals in Syria, Russia, Iran, and eastern Europe. The Trump administrative appears to underestimate Ankara’s role

In the past few days, Russia and Turkey have been working to strengthen their strategic partnership. Turkey has refused to participate in the West’s sanctions against Russia or to join the US in sanctioning Iran. Iran has vowed to work with Turkey to cope with pressure from the US. The Russia-Turkey-Iran alliance set up to deal with Syria is now expected to expand. Turkey is seeking to replace its traditional allies with new allies, particularly from the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Meetings to ease US-Turkey tensions appear to outweighed by retaliatory efforts.