IN BRIEF: Here’s why Turkey may leave NATO

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ANKARA – Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said sanctions by the US Treasury Department will not be able to hurt him personally. The US’s strategy has been an exercise in violating basic diplomatic principles – taking punitive measures against individuals of other nations for simply carrying out their duly appointed or elected responsibilities of ministers of a sovereign state.

Earlier, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Gul and the Interior Minister in connection with the case of US pastor Andrew Brunson. The two Turkish officials are prohibited from entering the US and their assets in US banking institutions are subject to freezing.

The US pastor has been detained by the Turkish authorities since October 2016 on charges of complicity with the Gulen movement (FETO), recognized as a terrorist in Turkey, as well as support for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country. Brunson denies the charges, calling them “shameful and disgusting.”

Political analyst Vladimir Shapovalov expressed his views on the possible consequences of the introduction of US sanctions against Turkish government ministers.

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“This is a very explicit example of an absolutely irrational policy because the negative effects of these US actions will be enormous, and I honestly do not see any good point. This is the first time in the modern system of international relations that the United States imposes personal sanctions against government ministers from an allied country. It’s hard to imagine a more absurd situation. And of course the already complicated relations between Washington and Ankara will only get worse as a result,

The rude and ostentatious pressure on a country like Turkey can only push Ankara further from Washington and, if all this continues, Turkey will eventually abandon the NATO system,” 

Tensions between Ankara and Washington are tense as the latter allows Gulen to reside in the US while also supporting the Syrian branch of the PKK, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). The US supports the YPG despite also recognizing the PKK as a terrorist organization. This has been a huge cause of tension between the two biggest NATO powers.

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