Turkey is a key American ally. But the deteriorating relationship between the two countries is creating a little anxiety for American business people and tourist who travel to Turkey and for Turkish tourists and business people who travel to the United States. Both governments said they are canceling visitor visas. The United States wants Turkey to reconfirm its commitment to keeping American personal safe. Turkey’s President Erdogan is not happy about Washington’s lack of confidence in their friendship even though Turkey is detaining a U.S. Consulate employee in Istanbul.
Turkey plays an important role in gathering intelligence and military information for the United States. And the country has deep commercial ties with the American businesses. The list of disagreements between the two countries over the Syrian crisis, and the battle to get Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in Pennsylvania, back to Turkey is turning the friendship into a political free for all. The Turkish government wants to prosecute him Gulen on spying charges. Those issues, as well as Erdogan frustration with the Trump administration over financial aid, are turning the warm friendship into a cold shoulder political love affair.
But the breakdown in relations between Turkey and the United States didn’t start on Trump’s watch. Former President Obama was not a Turkey fan. Trump was an Erdogan supporter and a friend before he took office. But Mr. Trump put Erdogan and Turkey on notice by canceling visitor visas, and by deciding to align with a Kurdish-dominated forces to fight the Islamic State in Syria.
The United States is not the only country with Turkish issues. Germany is not an Erdogan fan either. Turkey was in line to partner with the European Union, but Turkey is not the energetic European political ally of yesteryear. After the Turks arrested Metin Topuz, the U.S. consulate employee recently, the brewing feud between the U.S. and Turkey hit a new high. Turkey believes Topuz has a relationship with Gulen. Turkey thinks both men are part of an espionage ring. The U.S. Embassy is not happy about the Topuz’s arrest. And some American lawmakers think the arrest is without merit. The Americans say it’s a ploy to get Gulen back.
According to the Washington Post, Mr. Erdogan is nervous, and he is fighting back after experiencing a coup attempt. The Turkish president is arresting political opponents, reporters, academics and anyone that does not openly back his government.