November 7, 2018


Despite Everything, Turkey and the U.S. Are Getting Closer (Eli Lake, November 5, 2018, Bloomberg)

It was only three months ago that President Donald Trump was boasting about sanctions designed to cripple Turkey's economy. On Monday, Turkey became one of eight countries to receive an exemption from sanctions designed to cripple Iran's economy.

Granted, in the interim, a few things happened. To start, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month finally allowed the American pastor Andrew Brunson to leave his jail cell and return home. His imprisonment had been a major irritant with Trump, who believed Erdogan had backed out of an earlier deal to free him. Brunson's release came when Erdogan had some leverage because of Saudi Arabia's killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Turkish consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan's government has been dripping out details of that Saudi crime for a month, but has yet to release an audio recording of the crime itself.

Add to this Erdogan's decision to tone down his anti-American rhetoric. He used to be "defiant and outspoken" about the Iran sanctions, says Aykan Erdemir, a former member of Turkish parliament and scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. No longer. The Turks have not stopped buying Iranian oil altogether, but they are buying less of it.

Quicktake: How the U.S. Can Force the World to Squeeze Iran's Oil

The U.S. line on Turkey has also softened -- beyond granting Turkey an exemption from the Iranian oil sanctions. The U.S. Treasury lifted sanctions related to the detention of Brunson last week on two senior Turkish officials.

The entirety of the WoT consists of the alliance between the Anglosphere (minus Israel), the Shi'a, Kurds and Islamist political parties to promote democracy and oppose the Salafi/Wahabbi and secular dictators.  That the alliance makes everyone uncomfortable on the psychological plane makes it no less real on the ground.

Posted by at November 7, 2018 4:21 AM