US runs risk of losing Turkey as a whole: Erdogan aide

Threats, sanctions will only increase Turkey’s resolve, writes presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin

US runs risk of losing Turkey as a whole: Erdogan aide

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA

Threats and sanctions against Turkey will not work, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Saturday.

“The U.S. runs the risk of losing Turkey as a whole. The entire Turkish public is against U.S. policies that disregard Turkey’s legitimate security demands.

“Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work. It will only increase Turkey’s resolve. But it will also further isolate the U.S. in both Turkey and on the international scene,” Kalin wrote in his weekly column in the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper.

Kalin’s remarks came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Kalin said the Trump administration was involved in disputes with Canada, Mexico, Cuba, China, Russia, NATO, Germany and other countries mostly for domestic reasons.

“This has only damaged the credibility of the U.S. as a reliable partner and ally. The perception is not any different in Turkey,” he added.

Kalin went on saying that the crisis with the Trump administration over a pastor and the fluctuations in the currency market will not diminish Turkey’s resolve.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.

“It is also a fact that the Turkish lira losing value against the U.S. dollar is a challenge. But it is a challenge Turkey is ready to confront. The issue, however, is larger than just a currency war,” Kalin said.

He added that Turkey’s efforts to solve the Brunson issue through diplomatic channels have been rejected by the U.S. side.

“Turkey’s good intentions and result-oriented approaches have been sidelined by the ideological attitudes and the ‘my way or the high way’ approach of the Trump White House,” he said.

The spokesman also said Turkey’s security concerns, with regards to U.S. engagement with the PKK’s Syria branch — the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — and the presence of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) network in the U.S., were not taken seriously by its NATO ally.

“Neither the fight against Daesh nor the U.S. system can be an excuse to justify policies and attitudes that hurt Turkey’s national security interests and harm Turkish-U.S. relations,” Kalin added.

He added Turkey will not give in to threats, pressures, sanctions or financial operations against its currency and financial markets and will not put others’ demands over its own security demands.

Kalin said Turkey has stood by its NATO allies against all forms of terrorism and cooperated with them to eliminate terrorist threats against their countries.

“Having seen military coups, terrorist attacks, and financial operations, Turkey has only strengthened its resolve and resilience. No threats or attacks will change that,” he added.

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