Continuing from previous post, in an interview in the Oval Office on Monday, Donald Trump said he thought he had a deal with Turkeys’ president when he helped to persuade Israel to free a detained Turkish citizen! He’d thought Erdogan would then release Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor held since 2016 and facing 35 years in prison on espionage and terror-related charges.
Arutz Sheva reports him telling Reuters on Monday, “I think it’s very sad what Turkey is doing. I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions.” When asked about the potential damage to other economies from the tariffs he imposed, he said, “I’m not concerned at all. I’m not concerned. This is the proper thing to do.”
Trump said Erdogan had wanted the Turkish citizen returned from Israel. Earlier a senior White House official said they’d met in Brussels for a NATO summit in mid-July where they discussed Brunson’s case and what could be the way forward to release the pastor. Turkey had sought US help to persuade the Israelis to release a Turkish woman who was being held in Israel, the senior official said. In exchange Turkey would release Brunson and other Americans being held in Turkey.
Trump said he kept his side of the bargain. “I got that person out for him. I expect him to let this very innocent and wonderful man and great father and great Christian out of Turkey,” Trump told Reuters.
In response to the continued imprisonment of pastor Brunson the US president imposed sanctions on several Turkish officials and a 20 percent duty on aluminum and a 50 percent duty on steel. Turkey imposed tariffs on certain imports from the United States.
Gaza Knock-on Effect
After deceiving Trump and defaulting on their agreement, Erdogan has now stepped into the stalled haggling over plans to obtain a truce to alleviate the situation in Gaza. Yesterday, DebkaFile exclusively reports:
‘One of the key benefits under discussion is the use of a Mediterranean port to enable the enclave to receive goods and export merchandise, mostly agricultural products. Port Said on the bank of the Suez Canal was mentioned, as well as Limassol or Larnaca in Cyprus. However, the release of Ebru Ozkan was seen by Hamas as a sign of Israel’s weakness and it raised the ante once again. Now, the Palestinian negotiators in Cairo are demanding that the port made available to them be located in Turkish Cyprus. There, Israel would have no way of monitoring the types of goods Hamas was importing to the Gaza Strip and President Erdogan, a longstanding fan of the Palestinian terrorists, would be able to supply them out of sight with weapons and military equipment. All this means that Turkey can now jump with both feet into the shambolic Gaza truce negotiations and use them as a tool for getting back at Trump and Israel.’
See also Caroline Glick: Hamas-Israel Ceasefire Talks Show Peace Is Impossible.