Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Salih Dogan, a researcher in politics and international affairs specializing in Turkish politics and foreign policy at Keele University, outlined Ankara and Washington's possible next steps.
Sputnik: Why did Ankara agree to free the pastor at all in your view?
Salih Dogan: Ankara has been going through quite a hard time for a long time, but especially in the last two to three months. Turkey has had lots of political difficulties, and both within Turkey and in the international arena, and Turkey-US relations have been going through a hard time, and it was maybe the low point in the history of Turkish-American relations.
Sputnik: How soon do you think we'll actually see an improvement in relations? What kind of steps can be taken, given that there's also been this trade spat between the two countries?
Salih Dogan: If [the US and Turkey] just avoid these increased tariffs, which was done just two months ago, and which was the reason that the Turkish lira took a dive against the US dollar and lost lots of value in the last few months, this is a decision that Turkey needs.
I can't really say how long it will take, but we should just wait in see. Actually, if there is an agreement, and if Turkey wanted something from the United States with the release of the pastor, we will see in the following weeks.
Sputnik: How much of a victory was this for President Donald Trump, with the midterms just weeks away? He's referred to the pastor really "galvanizing" the nation. Would you say that this is a big win for him?
So it seems that President Trump is using the release of Pastor Brunson to show it as quite a big victory for himself, but Trump has lots of difficulties. This was only one case, and it seems that yes, he has [succeeded] in making a great topic about it and talking, tweeting and making statements about this issue to the press several times. So it seems a big victory. But as I said, President Trump has lots of difficulties both in the United States and also internationally, and I don't think it will necessary for him to be reelected in the next two years.
The views expressed by Mr. Salih Dogan are those of the observer, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.