The US and Turkey are allies because of their NATO membership. In addition, Turkey chose to be in Western bloc after Second World War. When cold war ended, US governments began to act unilaterally and ignored their allies’ interests. Such policies can be seen during Syrian civil var. Turkey many times asked US government to defeat ISIS together but chose YPG, which is PKK’s Syria branch, and strengthened the terrorist group. Turkey protested this partnership but instead of terminating its alliance with the terrorist group, US supplied five thousand truck of weapons. Now, the PKK is stronger than ever.
Second turning point in deteriorating US-Turkish relations is American government’s indifference and still sheltering head of coup plot, Fetullah Gulen. Though Turkey asked his extradition, both Obama and Trump administrations denied it. According to, extradition agreement signed by two countries, the US at least must imprison Fetullah Gulen. However, Gulen is still giving new orders to his followers, and, they still cause turmoil in Turkey.
Third problem is a new one despite it is not the newest one. It is the resumed sanctions on Iran. Turkey is a neighbor to Iran and dependent on Iranian oil. If Turkey acts with America’s self-declared sanctions, I can’t even write this article due to lack of electricity as Iran supplies more than fifty per cent of Turkey’s oil.
And the final problem is an American Pastor’s imprisonment. Pastor Andrew Brunson was arrested after failed coup because of his connections with FETO and the PKK. Trump and Pence want Erdogan to release him despite that it was not President Erdogan who detained him. It is Turkish judiciary and only judges can decide for his release. Erdogan previously offered to exchange him with Fetullah Gulen not because Pastor was innocent but for the sake of good relations. However, American media named this proposal as hostage diplomacy, a shameful allegation.
Now Trump and Pence threatened Turkey to release pastor Brunson. They even determined a deadline for his dispatch to the United States but a threatening language and diplomacy are not something that Turkish government will accept. As expected, Erdogan refused Trump’s unfair request. Then, US government began sanctioning two Turkish ministers who don’t have any assets in America. Actually, the target was Turkish lira and it plunged dramatically that in some days it lost value more than 15%. Turkey invites US government to solve problems with diplomacy but they refuse it. Perhaps, they are waiting for collapse of Turkish Lira so that Erdogan will come to their terms. I can assure you that this is not possible. Turkish people are aware that the US is trying to punish Turkey with Dollar and back their leader and government.
We can argue that both Trump and in general the United States is testing its power. They believe that they are the only super power and they can do whatever they want. They are testing it not only against Turkey but also against other allies as well. Remember how Trump behaved Angela Merkel when she visited him in the White House. Germany is aware that they can’t trust Trump for their security. Trump also forces the EU to accompany the US for implementing US sanctions, which I think were resumed with pressure of Israel. It is highly likely that America’s irresponsible policies will backlash and be counter-productive since it is not so strong to put sanctions on whichever it wants. So, at the end of the day, we and America might understand that the world is no longer unipolar. I am personally expecting such a result.
As for Turkey’s position, as President Erdogan declared, Turkey will find new friends if US continues to punish Turkey with Dollar. American state is not a super power but a superior power. Turkey has alternatives. But I don’t think that Turkey will ally with Russia or China or both. Turkey will follow independent policies and be at equal distance with all other countries. I mean neither Russia nor USA will be more or less valuable for Turkey. Turkey will go on its own way and become a regional power in the end.