Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has described President Donald Trump’s recent policy targeting Ankara as “self-defeating,” while reminding the “critical” role of İncirlik Air Base in Turkey.
“Aiming to undermine an ally’s economy to score domestic political points is deeply misguided. Alienating an ally with which your country shares vital national interests is self-defeating,” Çavuşoğlu said in an opinion article for USA Today on Aug. 20.
After reminding Turkey’s key roles inside NATO, Çavuşoğlu said: “The economic sanctions Mr. Trump’s administration is imposing on Turkey, however, are poised to disrupt any atmosphere of cooperation — all while global threats demand that we strengthen, not weaken, the ties that bind us together.”
Çavuşoğlu counted Syria and the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) as two key areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“Turkey’s İncirlik Air Base hosts American troops who are serving on the frontlines of the fight against ISIS. It has been a critical staging ground, putting allied forces hours closer than other bases in the region and has made a substantial difference in the ability to successfully root out ISIS,” he added.
Turkey is not a “rogue regime that can be shaken down on a whim,” Çavuşoğlu said, slamming Trump’s decision to double U.S. tariffs on a number of Turkish products, while imposing sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the arrest of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
“This reckless escalation needs to stop. The U.S. and Turkey may have divergent views on significant issues, but we strategically align on a wide range of others. For everyone’s sake, we should address our disagreements with diplomacy, rather than threats and provocation, and with a commitment to facts and perspective,” he concluded.
The article comes as ties between Ankara and Washington are in an unprecedented crisis over the continued detention of Brunson.
U.S. administration had imposed sanctions and vows to do more against Turkey in the case the pastor would not be released immediately.