Turkey finally released U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson in an ode to settle the issues between the countries new lows. However, what remains to be seen is if the diplomatic relationships between the two countries will improve or not?
The NATO allies have a plenty of unresolved tensions, which continue to affect the ongoing crisis in Turkey.
Andrew Brunson has returned back after almost two years in prison and house arrest after Friday’s decision taken by the Turkish court. The evangelical pastor’s case was championed by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, among others.
Brunson and his family met with President Donald Trump on Saturday at the Oval Office.
Turkey charged Andrew Brunson with helping the people involved in a failed coup against Erdogan, back in 2016, an allegation US rejected.
President Donald Trump on his way to a campaign rally on Friday said, “He suffered greatly but we’re very appreciative to a lot of people.”
Besides, the next day Trump reinstated on Twitter and later at the White House meeting that his nation did not make any deal to secure Brunson’s release. ” I don’t make deals for hostages,” he tweeted. “There was, however, great appreciation on behalf of the United States.”
Erdogan however, later tweeted and confirmed that his country’s judiciary decided independently on the matter. Not astonishingly enough, he added that Turkey looks forward to improving the bilateral relationships and a “common struggle” against terrorist organizations including Islamic State.
“This had to happen for things to just hold,” said Max Hoffman, associate director for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “If he hadn’t been released there were going to be new sanctions or additional sanctions and the tailspin would continue. So at least we’ve stopped the deterioration.”
On the other hand, with such a statement issued in utter hope to improve bilateral ties, US and Trump do not look much interested in restoring the lost glow for turkey, by removing the sanctions from the economy.
Ironically, this contradicts the statement’s issued by the president, which earlier showed utter frustration over detention. The issue also prompted US to double the metal tariffs on Turkey in August, leading to a fall in the price lira and impose financial sanctions on key Erdogan aides involved in the pastor’s case.
What next for Turkey and US?
Significant problems still remain stall between the two nations. Erdogan hasn’t yet backed off from his plans to buy Russian missile defense system, the S-400 that isn’t compatible with NATO requirements. Therefore, Turkey’s deal with Russia can pave way for another argument, which would only add’ salt into the wounds for Turkey. Besides, America’s duo with Counter-ISIS campaign, which were reliant upon Syrian Kurdish Groups that the Turkish government considers as its enemies, is also a point of conflict between the two.
“Given how fragile Turkey’s economy is, Erdogan knows this will reflect positively on the Turkish economy and the currency,” said Aykan Erdemir, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. “That could be the payoff — avoiding further political and economic problems.”
However, officials believe that Brunson’s release is the best possible way in which, the two countries can rejoin hands and make bold moves against the international threats. Therefore, all that Turkey can do is hope that there move will enforce US to remove sanctions, which in turn would stabilize its crumbling economy.