US conducting ‘psychological warfare’ against Turkey: Erdoğan
Vahap Munyar – LUSAKA
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 28 the spat between Turkey and the United States over imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson and the threat of sanctions coming from Washington amounts to “psychological warfare.”
“In my opinion, these are all [parts of] psychological warfare,” he told reporters in Zambia before returning to Ankara, referring to statements from U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the U.S. Defense Ministry.
On July 26, both Trump and Pence threatened Turkey with “sanctions” if Brunson, who was given house arrest on July 25 after staying behind bars for nearly two years on terrorism charges, was not freed.
Despite strongly-worded statements from both sides, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on July 27 that the two militaries remain “on good terms,” pointing to joint patrolling activities in the northern Syrian town of Manbij.
The U.S. Congress has been preparing a defense bill that would block the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey unless Ankara releases jailed U.S. citizens and employees and cancels the purchase of the S-400 air defense system from Russia.
Erdoğan said Turkey would resort to international arbitration if the sale of F-35 jets to Ankara is blocked.
“We will not take a step back when faced with sanctions,” the president said.
“They should not forget they will lose a sincere partner,” he added.