The United States and Turkey are at odds which each other, over the case of two religious preachers. The Trump administration imposed sanctions and tariffs on the Lira, causing it to nosedive. Furthermore since Washington doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Ankara, the Pennsylvania based preacher Fethullah Guleh, despite having mountains of evidence against him for orchestrating the failed 2016, Turkish coup, is facing no consequences. Subsequently, in October 2016, the Turkish authorities put American pastor Andrew Brunson under house arrest for aiding and abetting the coup. Trump’s bullying of Turkey over the pastor is only for a tiny reason: appeasing the American religious right. Otherwise we would have seen American sanctions imposed on Israel when it detained Americans, or killed 34 aboard the US Liberty waterliner in 1967. Had it really been about the American pastor, there could have been a solution available. The United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War exchanged spies that each side had captured in their respective countries. Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel was captured by the FBI in 1957. Francis Gary Powers, was captured by the Soviets after his plane was shot down by a Soviet rocket over Sverdlovsk causing the 1960, U-2 incident. Eventually, both sides worked out a plan where Powers was swapped for Abel. The entire episode is impeccably depicted in the movie; Bridge of Spies. Turkey is the second largest troop contributor to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is the only Muslim majority member of NATO, aswell. Turkey is to Syria what Pakistan has been to Afghanistan. Turkey shares borders with Iraq and Syria, where many US soldiers are stationed. The Turkish military is best suited for their air support and supplies. It was Turkey that hosted the American Jupiter missiles targeting the Soviet heartland, which prompted the Soviet Union to deploy their missiles in Cuba causing the famous Cuban Missile Crisis. Turkey is a rare Muslim nation as it has diplomatic relations with Israel, though the relations are complicated at best. Also, Turkey is to the Syrians what Jordan is to the Palestinians. Jordan is a buffer state between Israel and the Arab world, hosting the exiled Palestinians. Turkey is home to over 3.5 million Syrian refugees who might otherwise be travelling to Europe and America. Turkey is in violation of the US law CAATSA, by doing business with Russia. But this factor alone is not driving the sanctions against Turkey because the sanctions and the CAATSA are not so sacrosanct. The US is violating them itself, by allowing India to buy the same S-400 Triumph Air Defence System from Russia One of Turkey’s crimes includes being well cognizant of the fictitious nature of Article 5 of the NATO treaty and taking their defence into their own hands by choosing to purchase the S-400 missile Defence System ‘Triumpf’ from Russia. Turkey was refused each time it tried to purchase from its allies. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that, “I wanted to buy from the U.S. for the last 10 years; it didn’t work. I couldn’t buy from NATO allies, so Russia gave me the best proposal. And now I’m buying from Russia.” Moreover the US didn’t invoke article 5 of the NATO treaty in coming to Turkey’s defence because Turkey would have used Russian missile defence system in the event of an attack upon US soil. Turkey is in violation of the US law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) by doing business with Russia. But this factor alone is not driving the sanctions against Turkey because the sanctions and the CAATSA are not so sacrosanct. The US is violating them itself, by allowing India to buy the same S-400 Triumpf Air Defence System from Russia. Defence Minister, James Mattis in April urged the US congress to provide India the national security waiver saying that hitting India with sanctions under CAATSA would hurt the US. Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “We have mentioned that CAATSA cannot impact the India-Russia defence cooperation.” Turkey is also interested in buying the American made state of the art stealth fighter F-35, which cannot coexist with the Russian S-400. India is not interested in the F-35 planes. Therefore, India is not frowned upon when it expresses the desire to purchase the Russian S-400. Also, India will use it against an American foe namely China and its ally and India’s own foe, Pakistan, with who Washington is in an uneasy relationship. Turkey’s intention to purchase the S-400 creates a hurdle for the US person Lockheed Martin to sell the F-35 that NATO countries plan to use against Russian activity. The S-400 and F-35 cannot coexist because the Russian S-400 Triumpf system is designed to attack these very stealth planes. Moreover, it could lead to technology transfer and as well as the data and vulnerability of the F-35 to the Russians. Democratic Senator from New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen said, “We would be handing this technology over to the Kremlin if we granted Turkey these planes, and Congress will not stand for it.” Disturbing the business interests of US persons, dubbed as American national security interests, is a crime. Turkey is a potential customer of the F-35 and abandoning the S-400 paves the way for Lockheed Martin to seal the deal. It is noteworthy that the United States has given Israel its own missile defence system called US’s MIM-104 Patriot. Turkey’s other crime is helping Iran avoid US sanctions. Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a 47-year-old Turkish citizen was sentenced to 32 months in prison by a New York judge. He was the deputy general manager at the Halkbank and was allegedly involved in helping Iran use fraudulent gold and food transactions to spend oil and gas revenue abroad. While international law is not allowed to touch the US actions abroad, US domestic law can reach international crimes. US actions and sanctions are international but international law is not international since it cannot cross the Atlantic. For Washington, containing China and bullying Iran are more important than respecting a key NATO member. Trump doesn’t mind converting a NATO ally into a punching bag or even have it driven into the arms of Russia as Erdogan pointed out in his NYT opinion article. The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @Imran_Jan. Published in Daily Times, August 29th 2018.