Trying to contain Neocons on Turkey

The U.S. can’t afford to lose Turkey

August 15, 2018

President Trump’s decision to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey — and reports that broader sanctions are being considered — mark a dangerous escalation.

This was an unprecedented hostile act against a NATO ally, timed to inflict maximum damage. Turkey is already struggling to stem the collapse of its currency, and Trump announced the tariffs precisely when Turkey’s minister of finance was delivering a crucial speech outlining his government’s plan for managing the country’s economic crisis.

What’s more, these “large sanctions,” as Trump has described them, essentially blew up a delicate negotiating process between Ankara and Washington that was on the verge of success. An agreement was within reach, according to which Turkey would have freed American Pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest. But Trump apparently lost patience and decided to turn up the heat rather than negotiate to a successful conclusion, resorting to what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has termed “economic warfare.”