"It would be an extraordinary step to impose sanctions on a NATO ally, and the Turkish government responded defiantly.
“Noone dictates Turkey,” Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, wrote in a tweet. “We will never tolerate threats from anybody. Rule of law is for everyone; no exception.”
The widening conflict highlighted how the Trump administration has been torn over Turkey.
Mr. Trump and Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, have sought a closer rapport with Mr. Erdogan. But the Pentagon wants to preserve a close alliance with a Kurdish militia in northern Syria — one that the Turkish government regards as a terrorist group — to continue fighting the Islamic State.
Last month, a State Department official told Congress that plans by the Turkish government to acquire a Russian missile defense system would damage United States-Turkish relations beyond repair. The Senate temporarily blocked the sale of American weapons to Turkey, including F-35 fighter jets, because of Mr. Brunson’s imprisonment and Turkey’s purchase of the Russian air defense system.
On Thursday, Mr. Erdogan met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on the sidelines of a summit meeting in South Africa of the so-called BRICS countries of major emerging nations." nytimes
Well, pilgrims, for Islamists like Erdogan and his pals, attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity or any other faith is instigation of apostasy and it is (or should be in their minds) a killing offense.
Turkey under what is left of the Kemalist secular nationalist constitution is not an Islamic state, not yet. It is not a crime under Turkish law to try to convert Muslims to Christianity, not yet. Pastor Brunson did exactly that for 23 years. IMO you can be sure that he has been a subject dossier in Turkish police and internal security ever since Sultan Tayyip achieved power.
Does the sultan really believe that Brunson was part of the plot against him? IMO, no, but it is a convenient thing with which to charge him for the purpose of developing leverage against the US since you can't charge him with trying to convert Muslims.
What does Erdogan want? He wants us to give him the head of Fethullah Gulen, an exile from Erdogan's kingdom, an exile who challenges Erdogan's view of Islam and just about everything else. Gulen lives in the US. We have in the past refused to extradite him to Turkey because we know that Erdogan will kill him.
Erdo is trying to play a complex game in which he flirts with Russia, China and the US in the belief that he is cleverer than all these infidels and/or can simply defy them if necessary. Remember, Erdogan's body guards came out of the Turkish Embassy in Washington to beat up people in a park who were protesting the sultan's visit. These men were indicted in an American court and Erdogan defies us over extraditing them to the US.
Erdogan wants US made F-35s. He also wants Russian S-400 air defense systems, and also desires a big piece of northern Syria and Iraq. Erdogan is an ambitious man. pl