President Trump demanded that Turkey release incarcerated American Pastor Brunson. Otherwise, President Trump threatened that the US would institute economic sanctions against Turkey. In response, Turkey did not release the Pastor, and the President doubled the tariffs on steel and aluminum. As expected, the Turkish economy took an immediate hit. Some Turkish people displayed their displeasure and anger with the USA in creative ways. Some even destroyed their US dollar bills.
The United States and Turkey have a number of disagreements. One of them is the growing authoritarian role of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He just won his latest election back in June, which he uses as a vote of confidence to replace the Turkish parliamentary system with a Presidential system. His goal is to concentrate power in his hands.
Right after the election results, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders publicly stated that “we encourage Turkey to take steps to strengthen democracy.”
Already, the more authoritarian nature of Turkey has been bothering the USA. Erdogan has crushed the independent media in Turkey by jailing journalists and critics. Turkey used to be a secular democracy. Although Turkey has some aspects of a democratic system, it is basically an Islamic state that Erdogan rules over.
Erdogan has been very clear that he wants to reestablish the Turkish Empire. Also, he is known to be very well connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
A second conflict in the region between the United States and Turkey is on how to deal with Syria. Turkey has always supported the total removal of Assad from power in Syria.
A third is the US support of the Kurds. Turkey views the Kurds as a threat, yet they have seen the US support the establishment of a Kurdish independant entity in Iraq and the US was supplying the Kurds in the fight against Assad in Syria.
The latest conflict that precipitated the institution of sanctions is the continued incarceration of American Pastor Burson. He has been in jail for two years. The US believes that the charges of espionage are made up, and President Trump demands that he go free. He threatened economic sanctions on Turkey if the Pastor would not go free. Although Turkey did not release him, they did remove him from jail and placed him under house arrest. Since he is still not a free man, President Trump instituted the sanctions, just like he said he would.
“The president has a great deal of frustration on the fact that Pastor Brunson has not been released. As well as the fact that other U.S. citizens and employees of diplomatic facilities have not been released,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a briefing.
I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would stand up to pressure from the United States. All of this was before President Trump’s tweet.
This is not the first time that the Turkish people burned US dollars in protest. Just two months ago masses of people burned their US dollars as well.