Pipeline transport

Expert Voices

Worsening U.S.–Turkey relations are a boon to Russia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 26, 2018. Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump doubled the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum on Friday, causing the Turkish lira to plunge by 16%. The higher tariffs come amid tensions over American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is detained in Turkey, and Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the U.S. has refused to extradite from Pennsylvania despite Turkey's allegations of his ties to the failed July 2016 coup.

The big picture: While President Trump himself benefits politically from a trade war with allies, it is actually Russia that stands most to gain from a weakened Turkey. Despite the amicable diplomatic and military coordination between President Erdogan and President Putin in Syria, Russia views Turkey as a geopolitical threat in Eurasia. Russia has attempted to use the Astana peace process to keep its Turkish adversary close, and a widening rift between Washington and Ankara will ultimately redound to Putin's benefit.

A closer look at the Trump-EU natural gas plan

Trump and European Commission President Juncker in the Rose Garden
President Donald Trump (R) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) deliver a joint statement on trade in the Rose Garden of the White House. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

A new post at UPenn's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy breaks down the deal between the White House and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that's aimed at bolstering U.S. liquefied natural gas exports to Europe.

Why it matters: In recent weeks, Trump has talked up the possibility of expanding gas shipments to Europe, but a number of analysts have cautioned that Europe is unlikely to absorb huge amounts of U.S. LNG.