Signs of a thaw in Turkey-US ties

Published 10.08.2018 00:43

The tension in Turkey-U.S. relations over the pastor Andrew Brunson case is being presented as if the two countries are completely severing ties with each other. However, a careful follow-up of developments reveals that these interpretations are rather maximalist.

Yes, there is a serious crisis between the two countries over U.S. national and evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under arrest. On the other hand, when you look at the course of relations between the two countries, you will see that the line has never been linear. Turkey-U.S. relations are full of ups and downs. Yes, this time the downward move is pretty sharp, but both parties are aware that the continuation of their alliance is in their best interests. Therefore, the channels of mutual dialogue are kept completely open; the Turkish foreign minister and his U.S. counterpart meet very often and a Turkish delegation has already arrived in the U.S. for talks.

While these events are taking place, everything seems to be more important and livelier than the previous ones. However, let us not forget that we are talking about two allies that overcame the mandate crisis and even the sack scandal during the Iraq war. This will also be overcome. What is important is to keep communication channels open in a healthy way.

The U.S. is greatly disturbed by the arrest of Brunson due to his identity. It defends Brunson from the highest levels on behalf of the evangelical base and requests his extradition. Meanwhile, Turkey is also greatly troubled by the detention of Halkbank Deputy General Manager Hakan Atilla in the U.S. However, Turkey is not expressing its response from a high level like the U.S. and is using back channel diplomacy, although its disturbance is the same at the end of the day. For this reason, the two countries should insightfully approach the sensitivities of each other.

When I look at the information I have obtained from my sources and at the course of events, I see that the crisis has entered the solution phase, with both parties starting to make constructive statements. Let us note that the world has been talking about another topic around the U.S. for two days. The Trump administration has re-introduced sanctions against Iran in a harsher way. These rather controversial sanctions show that Trump's plan to contain Iran in the Middle East policy is in place. In such conjuncture, it would not want Turkey to move away from it to this extent. In fact, this would be a development to strengthen Russia and thus Iran.

Therefore, the U.S. will take steps to alleviate the crisis and not remove Turkey from its axis. Likewise, Turkey is aware that a multifaceted foreign policy is strengthening it and is pursuing an extremely rational policy. On the one hand, it is establishing good relations with Russia, and on the other, it is conveying the message that it is aware of the importance of relations with the West and is striving to resolve the crisis with the U.S.

Certainly, some figures in Washington do not like the Erdoğan administration and even go as far as to hate Erdoğan; however, a great power like the U.S. will not change its allies with daily emotional ebbs and flows. For that reason, even though these personal rifts will have short-term consequences, things will fall into place after a while. The U.S. will decide to maintain relations with Turkey that are much stronger than before; Turkey determines its own policies and wants to remain in alliance with the U.S.

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