This study investigates the interaction between liberal power-holders and states placed by the former in a client position when the subordinate commits human rights violations. Believed and expected to be the defender of liberal values, the study examines the conundrums liberal patrons face when the human rights violator is a close ally of the liberal state. Using grounded theory and process-tracing, it examines the case of American policies towards Turkey during its pre- and post-coup periods. Inspired by Georg Simmel's works on the triad, the research puzzle aims to uncover the normative and cross-pressures that the liberal state face by tracking the foreign policy debates, policy aims, justifications, and goals to map a predictive foreign policy behavior pattern. The study also proposes to shed more light on the conflict between human rights norms, state interests, and roles.