US Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement on Friday that increasing tensions between the United States and Turkey after the aluminum and steel tariffs were doubled could put US troops at risk in Syria or hurt the NATO alliance.
Murphy wrote on his Twitter:
So many variables to consider in this hair trigger escalation with Turkey. (1) U.S. troops at risk in Syria if U.S./Turkey relationship blows up; (2) If Erdogan goes down unexpectedly, chaos in Turkey is catastrophic for region; (3) Could push another NATO ally closer to Russia.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 10, 2018
Earlier on Friday, US President Donald Trump announced that he would raise tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel to 20% and 50%, respectively.
Trump added that relations between Turkey and the United States “are not good at the moment”.
In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has vowed to retaliate against US restrictive measures, noting that Washington will not achieve results by imposing sanctions on Turkey.
The Turkish ministry released a statement, saying: “President Trump’s decision on imposing additional tariffs targeting our country’s steel and aluminum exports, in complete disregard of World Trade Organization rules, cannot be associated with seriousness expected from a state. The United States should know that they cannot get any results through such kind of sanctions and pressures and that these will only harm our alliance which was forged by hardest challenges. All the steps taken against Turkey will be given a befitting response as they have been given before.”
On Wednesday, the United States announced that it would impose sanctions on Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu for allegedly holding “leadership roles” in Pastor Andrew Brunson‘s prison sentence, as well as other issues related to “human rights violations.”
Turkey detained Brunson two years ago for his alleged ties to the movement founded by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the military coup in the country in 2016, which failed. At the end of July, Brunson was released from a Turkish prison and placed under house arrest.