MNA – Referring to strong economy of Turkey, Senior member of Turkey’s CHP member says the evangelical circles in the USA, have turned the Pastor Brunson issue into a show case to win the millions of evangelical votes in the upcoming mid-term elections in November.
The US has threatened to impose more economic sanctions on Turkey if it does not free a detained American pastor, Andrew Brunson who has been held in Turkey for nearly two years over links to PKK terrorist group.
The dispute over his release has seen the two NATO allies impose tariffs on one another’s goods.
The row between Turkey and US worsened a crisis for Turkey’s currency, the lira, which has lost about a third of its value against the dollar since January.
The crisis has prompted widespread selling in other emerging markets, sparking fears of a global crisis.
After a little recovery of Turkish lira, US President Trump on Friday again threatened Turkey with more economic punishment.
Many believe detention of Andrew Brunson is just an excuse for US to punish Turkey and the real crimes of Ankara are buying the Russian S-400 missile system for Turkey, refusing to accept US support for America’s Kurdish YPG.
In an interview we discussed the issue Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu, a senior member of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Here is the full text of interview with him:
What are the reasons behind recent tensions in Turkey and US relation? Are they mainly economic or political? Is there any relation between the US unfriendly approach toward Turkey and Ankara’s regional policies?
The reasons for the recent escalation of tensions are both political and economic, each step in one domain triggering reactions in the other, resulting in a negative downward spiral. That is to say, political issues lead to economic sanctions which in turn exacerbate the political differences.
While Turkey’s policies on Syria and Iran, its relations with Russia and its approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict do play a stage-setting role in shaping the Washington’s attitude toward Ankara, the immediate reason has more to do with American domestic politics. The case of Pastor Brunson on trial in Turkey for aiding and abetting terrorists in Turkey has been elevated to the top of the agenda by the Trump administration, demanding his release along with other Americans detained in Turkey. The evangelical circles in the USA, led by Vice-president Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo have turned the Pastor Brunson issue into a show case to win the millions of evangelical votes in the upcoming mid-term elections in November.
Is there possibility of deepening the crisis?
Yes, the crisis can get worse. It would first depend on the course the Turkish economy takes in the next few months. If the Turkish economy runs into more troubles, anti-American sentiments in Turkey would grow even stronger, compelling the Government to take an ever-stiffer stance against the USA. If on the other hand Turkey is able to ward off a deepening crisis in its economy, then there would still be a chance for diplomacy between the two allies.
Another reason is the prospect of additional American sanctions, particularly the exercise of a US veto against extending credit or providing facilities to Turkey in international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. This could have a deleterious impact on the Turkish economy.
Yet another reason would be further sanctions against Turkey in the US Congress, including but not limited to the sale of F-35 fighter jets.
At the end of the day however it would all depend on the actions and decisions of the leaders of the two countries. In this context President Trump, acting as a global bully, does not give much hope.
Is there possibility of collapse of Turkey’s economy if the tensions continue? Can Turkey overcome the economic problems created by recent tensions? If yes, how?
No, Turkish economy will not collapse, despite the deep problems it is facing. The fundamentals of the economy are strong enough to avoid a melt-down. Indeed, Turkey has already taken a number of steps to shore up its economy. The free fall in the value of the Turkish lira has now been stopped. As the various structural and financial measures go into effect, the economy should start to recover despite the American sanctions. There is world-wide reaction against the US, east and west, leading perhaps to alternative international arrangements to mitigate the effects of American bullying. Europe has been supportive of Turkey not just because they oppose Trump policies, but also because they know a failed Turkey would have serious consequences on their economies as well. Turkish cooperation with Europe and with others will work to Turkey’s benefit.
Iran has also been very understanding toward Turkey, criticizing American policies. Continuing cooperation and solidarity between Turkey and Iran are important for both countries and for stability and prosperity of the region.
How can to side settle their differences?
All alternatives to diplomacy, whether armed conflict or other variations of war, end with diplomacy.
Can possible collapse of Turkey’s economy result in political changes in Turkey? Or affect the regional developments to the benefit of the US regional goals?
As I said earlier, the Turkish economy will not collapse. The country has weathered economic crises before and it will do so this time again. On the other hand, there is a need for change in Turkish policies in the region irrespective of Turkey’s relations with the US. On Syria, Turkey must open channels of communications with the Syrian government and invest more effort in the Geneva peace process. Ankara must also redefine a new relationship matrix with the Kurds of the region, one based on mutual respect and reciprocal benefits.
As for the US, the best course of action is for it to leave the region and let the peoples of the region determine the course of their lives on their own. The same applies to all other foreign actors operating in the region.