Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned on Thursday that the next series of sanctions against Turkey are coming “soon” unless that nation immediately gives in to demands to free jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson.
In recent weeks, the US has sanctioned a pair of Turkish cabinet members, and dramatically increased tariffs against the nation, fueling anger among Turkish leaders and creating economic uncertainty across the region.
Obviously this raises the stakes of the US imposing more sanctions. The Qatari government already felt the need to pledge $15 billion in funding to prevent the collapse of the Turkish lira and try to stabilize them in this time of crisis. It’s not clear how much more they’d be willing to contribute if the US just keeps making things worse.
Some are also predicting this will lead to further US hostility toward Qatar as well. In all likelihood, Qatar feels they owe Turkey such help since Turkey came to their aid when Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a region-wide blockade. Since the US has large numbers of troops positioned in Qatar and Turkey, it’s not clear they could afford to alienate both by escalating the diplomatic conflict too far.