Back to the world of threats and hostility

Published

After the long nine-day Qurban Bayram holiday (or Eid al-Adha in Arabic), Turks are back to reality with the Turkish lira under attack, triggering economic problems; the United States threatening more sanctions if a court in İzmir simply does not stop the trial against pastor Andrew Craig Bronson and send him back home; Greece providing sanctuary to Turkey's secessionist terrorists and coup plotters; and the Idlib region in Syria just south of our border about to explode in a new bout of violence instigated by the Bashar Assad regime.

The problems are tough, but Turks are used to challenges.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his White House executives have lined up to bash Turkey over the Brunson case, demanding his "immediate" release; meanwhile, they have been using economic instruments, especially the dollar, to weaken the Turkish currency and push Turkey into an economic crisis. They fail to recognize that if they plunge Turkey into an economic abyss, Western economies will also be in serious jeopardy. This act of enmity will also have inevitable political and security repercussions.

Turks are now bracing for new assaults from Trump and his men while still hoping that common sense will prevail in the White House and the offensive will be called off.

Meanwhile, Turkey has to cope with the challenges of the economic problems caused by the dollar assault. It has to bolster Turkish companies with massive foreign debts who face rising production costs as our exports rely on imported inputs.

Then there is the case of Greece. The Greek administrative high court has decided to open the door for eight Turkish military personnel who took part in the bloody July 15, 2016 coup attempt to be granted asylum in Greece. The eight had fled to Greece in a helicopter they used during the coup attempt, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the eight would be sent back to Turkey within a week. Now, after two years of legal struggle, the eight are being granted asylum in Greece.

But that is not all. Now a former Turkish parliamentarian, Leyla Birlik, who had a court ordered travel ban, has fled Turkey and slipped into Greece, seeking political asylum. There is no doubt she will be granted asylum just like many militants and terrorists who have been given sanctuary in a camp near Athens.

All these are acts of enmity displayed by the Greek authorities, while Turkey has gone out of its way to help Greece in its times of need. Turkey stood by Greece during its deep economic crisis and is still preventing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees from crossing over to the Greek islands, thus preventing a human catastrophe.

Then, of course, we have to brace for the events that may soon unfold in the Syrian region of Idlib, just across our southern border. Opposition forces are holed up in Idlib, while the Assad regime is building up its forces outside the region for a massive assault. The region was supposed to be a de-escalation zone secured by Turkey and Russia. Observers feel any assault on Idlib will have dire consequences, not only for the peace process, but for any solution that may be envisaged for Syria. The Turkish foreign and defense ministers and the head of intelligence visited Moscow last week to discuss the explosive issue with their Russian counterparts as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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