By Ahval

The United States needs to re-examine its approach to Turkey and take into account the hostile attitudes of Turkey’s government, analyst Nate Schenkkan wrote for Washington, D.C.-based think tank Freedom House.

“Politically, there seems little reason not to take Erdoğan at his word when he repeatedly claims to believe that the West is behind conspiracies to overthrow him, and then acts on those statements by imprisoning American citizens and foreign employees of American diplomatic missions in Turkey,” Schenkkan wrote.

“The dismantling of the separation of powers has created a highly personalized and autocratic system that makes a deeper political alignment with the United States difficult to imagine.”

The relationship should be re-evaluated through direct matters and the impact of disagreements over Syria should be reduced, Schenkkan said, but there should also be a sliding scale of sanctions if Turkey does not release U.S. citizens under arrest and cancel the purchase of the S-400 air defence system from Russia.

The United States should also look at directly working with Turkish citizens rather than their government, he added, and provide funding for journalism and civil society groups working in Turkey and in exile.