August 15, 2018

Turkey Trouble

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

, which has imposed sanctions and raised tariffs against Ankara in a dispute about the detention of a U.S. evangelical pastor.” (Reuters)

“[North Carolina Pastor Andrew] Brunson is
, charges that he has denied. He is being tried on terrorism charges.” (Reuters)

Last week, Trump tweeted “

See past issues

The left worries that Turkey’s current economic woes and increasing tensions between Erdogan and the West could push Turkey even closer to Russia and Iran.

Turkey’s economic troubles, analysts say, are largely of Mr. Erdogan’s own making. They have less to do with his dispute with the United States and the prospect of greater sanctions than with Mr. Erdogan’s deepening economic interference as he attempts to bend the logic of monetary policy and global financial markets to suit his political purposes.”

New York Times

Turkey’s many troubles have wide geopolitical and strategic ramifications. The country is, as ever, awkwardly positioned between two ostensibly friendly but imperious powers: the US and Russia... Erdoğan has tried to play them off against each other, with mixed success. Now the many contradictions in his policy positions are coming to a head, with unpredictable implications for Syria, Iran, Nato and already strained relations with Europe.”

The Guardian

Turkey is

or was) America’s only reliable major ally in the region – and the one, even now, most likely to contribute to political and military stability, including restraining Russia and Iran in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq... President Trump might have made more progress if he had tried to work behind the scenes than [via] social media. [Instead] Mr Trump has made Mr Brunson into a totem, the Turks can hardly release him for fear of appearing weak.”

The Independent

“But even as decisions from Washington have helped fuel the mess, it presents only limited danger to American business interests. The United States trades a relatively skimpy amount with Turkey, and U.S. banks likewise don’t have much exposure there.That gives President Trump a freer hand escalating his confrontation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

Washington Post

“In all likelihood, Turkey will lose any fight it picks with New York, London, Singapore and other bastions of finance... it would be very sensible for the West to prepare an ambitious package to alleviate the aftereffects of the financial tsunami and to ensure that Turkey does not drift from the Western norms and institutions... The West cannot afford losing Turkey to Russia and Iran.”


Counterpoint: “Good for the Trump administration for imposing strong economic sanctions on two top Turkish officials who have toyed with the life of an American pastor... This is pure thuggery which the Trump administration is morally right to stand firm against.”

NY Daily News

The right condemns Turkey’s behavior, including its cozy relationships with Russia and Iran, and wonders if NATO would be better off without it.

The right condemns Turkey’s behavior, including its cozy relationships with Russia and Iran, and wonders if NATO would be better off without it.

“Erdogan’s resort to hostage-taking as a tactic to gain leverage over allies — it’s not just us — is a barbarous throwback and a disgusting homage to rogue states such as Iran and North Korea... The case against the pastor, the highest-profile case, is ludicrous... The alleged supporting evidence is a collection of absurdities that could have been assembled by the Turkish equivalent of Alex Jones.”

National Review

“Turkey, a NATO ally, has for over a decade treated us as an enemy instead of a friend. President Trump is beginning to return the favor... [Erdogan’s] alliance with Russia and Iran to save Assad demonstrated conclusively that he is no longer America’s ally. It is entirely inconsistent with Turkey’s obligations as a NATO member.”

American Spectator

Erdogan has been consorting for some time with the leaders of Russia and Iran over plans to divide the spoils in Syria. Turkey had previously decided to buy billions of dollars’ worth of advanced weapons from Russia, ignoring the disapproval of its NATO partners. Turkey and Iran had already agreed to boost their military cooperation with each other and to increase intelligence sharing. This is all part of Erdogan’s long-held desire for geo-political reasons to tilt his country away from the West.”

Front Page Magazine

“We must ask, calmly but unflinchingly, about the wisdom of our relations with an admittedly great country possessed of a great civilization that is no longer a friend or ally. Should the West continue to share military secrets on which our collective security depends with a capital that is forming strategic partnerships with the powers most hostile to us?”

Wall Street Journal

“Since the fall of the USSR and the rise of Erdogan, Turkey’s strategic position has become much less useful and its bad behavior much more of an issue. At present, having Turkey as an ally is presenting many more problems than opportunities... NATO would be much better off without Turkey than with it.”


“Turkey is living up to the old maxim that ‘there are no permanent allies or enemies, only permanent interests’... How many in the United States would be willing to send troops to wage war — or even risk nuclear war — over Turkey? These questions are rarely asked, but should be asked, and asked first.”

Washington Times

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

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