Everybody has probably noticed that U.S. President Donald Trump preferred to address his Turkish counterpart directly, through media or Twitter, with regard to the pastor Andrew Brunson case. Moreover, he decided to impose sanctions on two members of the Turkish government.
It is obvious that Trump is expecting the Turkish president, or the said two ministers, to intervene personally in the judicial process of Brunson. Trump feels that the Turkish president should just give an order to the judges and make them release the American pastor, no matter what the legal requirements are.
Everyone needs to know that every verdict Turkish judges give have a legal basis in the country's judicial system and criminal law. Rather than Trump's insistence, the best thing to do would be to encourage Turkey to improve the democratic standards and independence of its legal and judicial system.
We also know that Trump feels free to ask his Turkish counterpart to give an order to the Turkish courts to secure the release of an American citizen, because he believes, as do many other people in the West, that there is no such a thing as rule of law or independent justice in Turkey. Maybe we should criticize the U.S. because of this deprecating view of Turkey and its judicial system.
On the other hand, given what is currently going on in U.S. national politics, and especially around the Trump administration, we may say that Trump's attitude with regard to Turkey has other reasons than his misperceptions about Turkey. It appears Trump himself would like to intervene in ongoing criminal cases in the United States. That is why he believes every president abroad should be able to do the same in their respective countries, and when they fail to do so, he gets angry at them.Trump's recent attacks on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions provided a good demonstration of his psychology and his vision about the judiciary. He clearly expects Sessions to do something about a number of investigations involving people close to him. He is getting uneasy and impatient every passing day, as his legal problems are piling up, from collusion allegations with the Russians to the allegations about the violation of campaign financing rules. He keeps tweeting about the importance of loyalty within a cabinet, insinuating that serving the person of the president is more important than serving the country or justice. He is even telling the attorney general what to focus on: the allegations targeting the Democratic Party.
One wonders if in any other democratic country, for example in Sweden, Malta, Canada or Japan, a head of state can behave in such a manner.
Trump is not only trying to influence the judicial process, but he is also threatening everybody. In other words, conveying threats is not only a foreign policy tool for him, but almost a habit. He is bullying practically everybody – his opponents, the media, his Cabinet members, allies and foes. He even threatened his entire nation last week by saying that an eventual impeachment procedure would mean economic chaos for ordinary Americans.
He probably doesn't notice, or doesn't care, that a leader who is acting the way he does will never be respected by foreign nations. The most important thing, of course, is what the American citizens think of him. We will soon figure this out, too, as midterm elections are around the corner.