Will Turkey leave NATO with Brunson as excuse?


"On August 20th, the price of the Turkish Lira fell after US President Donald Trump declared that there would be “no concessions” with Turkey over the detained US Pastor.

In an interview with Reuters on August 20th, Donald Trump rejected agreeing to any demands from Turkey to gain the release of Andrew Brunson. He also said that he wasn’t concerned that his tough stance could end up hurting European and emerging market economies.

Trump also claimed that he thought he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a deal after he helped persuade Israel to release a detained Turkish citizen. He thought that Erdogan would reciprocate his actions and release Andrew Brunson, who denies all allegations that he was involved in the failed coup attempt of 2016.

“I think it’s very sad what Turkey is doing. I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions,” Donald Trump said.

Turkey’s demands include the US to hand over Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric in the United States suspected in the coup plot against Erdogan, however that request has been refused."  SF


This seems to me to be a "Mexican Standoff."

Turkish/Erdogan pride is heavily involved as well as what IMO is his deeply held anti-Christian/anti-Western bias.

At the same time the US is denying Turkey previously agreed on sales of F-35 even though most of the aircraft have been delivered.  This denial is in retaliation for the deal the Turks have made for the Russian built S-400 air defense system.   The Russian system is operationally incompatible with NATO systems and is, of course, incompatible with the anti-Russian purpose of NATO as it is seen by  American politicians and generals who share a view of  Russia as a thinly disguised continuation of the Soviet Union and a threat needed to justify and maintain the force structure they want in their imagined role as world gendarme.

Brunson is the pastor of one of the several small Protestant churches in Izmir City.  These churches serve the expatriate business and consular communities there and have only a few hundred congregants.  When I lived in Izmir I produced amateur theatricals in the parish hall of the Anglican Church.  These churches were even then often vandalized by Turks who saw them as both infidel and alien.

Trump is IMO unlikely to back away from this confrontation which he sees as part of the process of imposing his will on just about everyone.  At the same time the Turks are clearly intent on expanding their territory at the expense of Syria even though the Russians have cautioned them that Russia will stand by its Syrian ally.

A major diplomatic and military clash among these various interests seems inevitable.  pl




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