How to Save the U.S.-Turkey Relationship

For the Sake of the Alliance, Erdogan Must Fold

Trump and Erdogan meet during the UN General Assembly in New York, September 2017 Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

The tense relationship between the United States and Turkey is reaching an inflection point. As the Turkish government has taken an increasingly authoritarian turn and made questionable foreign policy choices in recent years, Washington has tried to exercise strategic patience and engage Turkish leadership to resolve differences between the two countries. But that patience is wearing thin, as Ankara has repeatedly failed to respond to Washington’s concerns—chief among them right now the imprisonment of Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina, on specious terrorism charges. The handling of the Brunson case, which came to a head last week when he was moved to house arrest rather than released, will affect the future of bilateral ties. If negotiations fail, the United States may feel compelled to shift its approach away from diplomacy and toward economic leverage. In this game of foreign policy poker, Turkey’s struggling economy may

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