Trump learn­ing hard les­son

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Opinion -

– Ruth Afifi, Fresno

Pres­i­dent Trump is slowly but surely learn­ing some­thing that Greeks, Ar­me­ni­ans, Kurds and Rus­sians have known all along – namely, that Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan con­sid­ers him­self not only above the law of his own coun­try, but some­how ex­empt from hon­or­ing his own per­sonal promises to friends. Trump had seem­ingly bro­kered a deal with Er­do­gan, whom he had called “a friend” in pre­vi­ous meet­ings, which would have freed Evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor An­drew Brun­son from a Turk­ish prison. Turk­ish author­i­ties jailed Brun­son in 2016 on the pre­text of be­ing a sub­ver­sive, although his pri­mary crime ap­pears to have been preach­ing Chris­tian­ity. It seems that in ex­change for Brun­son’s free­dom, Is­rael would re­lease a Turk­ish women charged with sus­pected links to Ha­mas. Trump kept his end of the bar­gain by con­vinc­ing Pres­i­dent Ne­tanyahu to dis­charge the Turk­ish woman. Er­do­gan, thus far, has not hon­ored his part. Brun­son was not freed but merely moved to house ar­rest. Un­der­stand­ably frus­trated and an­gered, Trump has lashed back by threat­en­ing sanc­tions against Turkey. Friend­ship, even among world lead­ers, is based on rec­i­proc­ity as well as shared in­ter­est and re­spect—not dou­ble-deal­ing. Mr. Trump, Er­do­gan is not your friend. Please do not deal with him as such.

– Randy Baloian, Fresno

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