by Jack Watts
COMMON SENSE: Pastor Andrew Brunson’s release from house arrest in Turkey is being heralded as a great success for the Trump administration, which it is, but the timing of it creates more problems than it solves. Let me explain why.
By releasing Brunson as a gesture of goodwill, Turkey has put pressure on President Trump to be more forceful in its sanctions against Saudi Arabia for the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi—a writer for the “Washington Post.” Putting sanctions on Saudi Arabia isn’t something Trump wants to do, but the release of Brunson will make it difficult to not act strongly against them.
Turkey is a member of NATO, which makes them our ally, but Saudi Arabia is also our ally. They are strategic in our efforts to box-in Iran’s efforts to dominate the region. Forcing our hand with the Saudis is in Iran’s best interest, and also in their primary ally’s interest, Russia. By murdering Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, the Saudis have created an international situation that is very destabilizing to the entire region.
Russia would love for the Turks to leave NATO. It would give them easier naval access to the Mediterranean, through the Dardanelles Straights in Turkey. This is something the Russians have desired since the days of the Czars. For more than a century, the USA has kept this from happening, but it definitely remains a goal for Putin. It’s actually the reason why he annexed Crimea during the Obama administration.
It would allow Russia to dominate the Mediterranean, which would be a threat to Greece, Italy, Spain, and Israel—all of whom are our allies. So, the release of Brunson is a good thing, but it also complicates the volatile Middle East further.
I know this is complex. Linkages always are, but I thought you would want to know.