Ankara/Washington: Turkish President, Recep Erdogan announced sanctions against the United States with the vitriolic words, ‘The sanctions imposed by the United States are an insult to Turkey. We will not stop short of a retaliation. We have shown patience till now. But now, I have ordered sanctions against the properties of the US Secretaries of Justice and Interior. If the United States thinks that Turkey will retreat by issuing threats and foolish sanctions, then I must say that the United States has failed miserably in understanding Turkey.’
A few senior officials from the Turkish army had attempted an unsuccessful coup against President Erdogan in 2016. The Turkish government had ordered the arrest of more than 10,000 people for being involved or connected with the coup. These included Pastor Andrew Brunson, a Christian preacher living in Turkey for more than 20 years.
Brunson was accused of helping the opponents to overthrow the Turkish government. Last week itself, Brunson was moved to house arrest after 21 years in prison. The United States has claimed that the Brunson arrest is illegal and has demanded his release.
US President Trump had threatened to impose comprehensive sanctions against Turkey if it didn’t accept the United States’ demand to release Brunson from detention. President Erdogan had said that Turkey was not scared of the United States’ threats and had warned that the United States will lose a sincere ally like Turkey. But after Turkey’s refusal, the US treasury department imposed sanctions against Turkish Law Minister, Abdulhamit Gul and Minister for Internal Security, Suleyman Soylu.
There were severe reactions in Turkey, against these sanctions. The agitated Turkish leaders gave out a strong reaction and demanded to seize the Trump Tower in Turkey. ‘The United States should correct its mistake by withdrawing these sanctions against Turkey, or else Turkey will immediately retaliate against this irresponsible act of the United States,’ warned the Turkish Foreign Department. A special meeting had been held between US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu regarding this matter.
But as the meeting did not provide any solution, President Erdogan seems to have gone ahead and directly imposed sanctions against the US officials. While making the announcement President Erdogan warned that the United States’ action against a military ally is just not right. Although Erdogan has ordered to impose sanctions against the Secretaries for Justice and Interior, such positions do not exist in the United States as they do in Turkey. Hence, there is confusion about who exactly would be the target of the sanctions imposed by Turkey.
The analysts have said that this aggression by Turkey against the United States will prove to be expensive for Turkey. Currently, there is a strain on the Turkish economy and the Turkish Lira is on a decline. The Turkish population is already agitated due to this. There are clear indications that President Erdogan will not be able to contain the rising discontent amongst the Turkish population for too long.