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Trump, Turkey, and a Controversial US Defence Budget

Amidst rising tensions between America and her NATO ally Turkey, Trump, against the advice of his Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, postponed the delivery of 100 F-35 jets with the signing of America’s most recent defence bill late Sunday.

The ill-advised signing of the $716 billion budget was made due to reports of the Turkish purchasing a Russian-made S-400 air defence system, reflecting what Senator Shaheen denotes as Turkey’s “stated ambition,” which “continues to give our government pause.”

Despite Ankara claiming the F-35 deal was a “substantial legal agreement,” Trump has since come forth stating the pending “Pentagon report [that is assessing] the relations between Ankara and Washington,” will determine if the barring of this ‘legal agreement’ will remain intact or not.

The report is due back over the next 90-days, leaving the future of US-Turkey trade relations in limbo, which could prove to be a grave cause for concern for the US industrial base, as per se Bloomberg a la an international “supply chain disruption.”

On top of this dispute, differences in opinion regarding America’s support for Kurdish fighters in the war-torn nation of Syria, as well Turkey’s refusal to end the purchasing of Iranian oil, amongst other things, has not helped smoothen relations between the two.

Moreover, if that wasn’t enough to put your head in a tizzy, the detention of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, whose alleged involvement in the unsuccessful 2016 military coup, has not helped amend the broken relations between the two countries at a time where reconciliation is paramount, and the importance of NATO’s stability unwavering.

Pastor Brunson has since been placed under house arrest as of last month, after serving 21 months in pre-trial detention, and whose fate lies solely in the hands of the Turkish courts, according to authorities in Ankara.

In response to this, the Trump administration sanctioned two Turkish ministers, as well as doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports, pending a reversal of Turkey’s stance on the pastor Brunson case.

We will update the readership on these growing tensions, pending further developments in US-Turkish diplomacy.


Published by
Alexander Singh Dhaliwal

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