Washington does not want to maintain sanctions against Ankara to avoid losing key allies and regional interests.

"The Turkish government announced that it would stop the offensive in Syria, causing the ceasefire to last forever. Therefore, I instructed the Minister of Finance to lift all sanctions imposed on 14 / 10 in response to Turkey's initial move against the Kurds in northeast Syria, "US President Donald Trump said at the White House on October 23.


Erdogan (left) met Trump in New York on September 21 Photo: Reuters

The sanctions approved by Trump on October 14 were relatively light, to ensure Turkey's economy did not fall into crisis, but some of the heavier sanctions laws are still being considered in US Congress. In addition, Washington can still impose sanctions on Ankara regarding the sale of S-400 anti-aircraft missiles by Moscow.

Enea Gjoza, a scholar at the U.S. Defense Priority Fund, said the Trump administration did not want to maintain Turkish sanctions for too long, as they would push Ankara away from Washington instead of urging President Recep Tayyip's administration. Erdogan changed action in Syria.

Punishment is one of the few mechanisms the US still uses to pressure President Erdogan. However, the model of imposing strategic sanctions to force the opponent to make concessions has not produced favorable political results for the United States in the past.

In fact, Washington's sanctions always make the opponent in economic difficulties, but does not change their behavior. Typically, sanctions against Russia after its annexation of Crimea in 2014 did not prevent Moscow from abandoning the territory or stopped supporting separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.

The "maximum pressure" strategy aimed at the Iranian economy did not produce the expected results. Tehran has taken a tough stand and openly confronted Washington, even shooting down drones (UAVs) worth more than US $ 200 million. Iranian leaders refuse to negotiate unless the US lifted sanctions, making diplomatic solutions even more difficult

"If the US maintains sanctions and pushes the Turkish economy into deepening crisis, nationalism and anti-American spirit will make Ankara confront and not yield to Washington," Gjoza said.


Erdogan (left) met Putin on October 22 Photo: AP

Erdogan has repeatedly shown a tough attitude to foreign pressure, especially after the US threatened to punish it for buying the Russian S-400 system. After the US dismissed the F-35 super fighter project, Turkey responded by being ready to consider buying Russian fighters instead.

"The US threatens to punish but not open the way back for Ankara will provoke confrontation instead of cooperation. Erdogan may criticize the United States and its European allies, as well as take countermeasures to to please the nationalists in Turkey, "Gjoza said.

Such measures could include promoting an anti-Kurdish campaign outside the current 30-km safety buffer zone in northern Syria, restricting U.S. access to Incirlik air base or developing Turkey's own nuclear arsenal. Turkey. Ankara can also open the border to push 3.6 million Syrian refugees to Europe, as well as strengthen military and political cooperation with Moscow.

The US embargoes fail when they cannot force the other party to actually change their behavior. Embargoed countries are often willing to suffer economic losses instead of making concessions, because they do not believe sanctions will be lifted if behavior changes. This only encourages them to pursue their own goals rather than compromise with the United States.

The US may weaken Turkey's economy, but it will not overpower Erdogan until the US government has launched a diplomatic process to persuade Turkey to compromise.

"The Turkish government understands that many things will be lost if punished harshly, but they will only cooperate if the US offers a plan to help them save face and avoid economic disaster," Gjoza said.