Washington and Ankara will continue to confront each other - analyst

The recent diplomatic row between Turkey and the United States is the product of a longer-term dispute over the nature of their relationship, Nick Danforth, a senior policy analyst for Bipartistan Policy Center's national security program said in the New York Times on Thursday.

Relations between Ankara and Washington have recently been strained over the almost two-year detention of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been charged with membership of terrorist organisations in Turkey. 

According to Danforth, the release of Brunson will not end the problems in relations and the United States and Turkey will continue to confront each other over the terms of their relationship, which both want to continue, but with irreconcilable expectations.

While Washington aims to show Ankara that arresting U.S. nationals, rapprochement with Russia, and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran has a price, Ankara is trying to challenge what it sees as the asymmetric balance of power between two countries, Danforth explained.

“Both the United States and Turkey assume they are indispensable to the other and ultimately expect to prevail. What happens next will be a test of how much the world — and each country’s place in it — has really changed in recent years,” Danforth said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s defiance against United States reflects not only nationalist bravado, but also an assumption about the new political order shaping in a more multi-polar world, said Danforth.

“Mr. Erdogan is betting on finding a place in a new, post-American global order. He seems to be gambling that Washington has proved more effective in alienating its allies than he has and that the American-led global order collapses before the Turkish economy does,” Danforth said.

However, Turkey’s quest to find alternatives to the United States, by reinvigorating relations with the European Union, forging even closer relations with Russia, and securing financial support from China and Qatar will not pay off in the end, as new conditions and consequences come with each of those alternatives, Danforth said. 

“Ankara will almost certainly discover the high cost of pursuing a more independent or antagonistic policy toward Washington. And Washington will discover the high cost that Ankara is willing to bear,” Danforth added. 

Rather than putting more pressure on Turkey and further alienating its allies, “a consistent and measured approach” from Washington will make Ankara “eventually recognise the benefits of a more cooperative relationship with the United States,” Danforth said. 

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