At The American Conservative, Doug Bandow, a Cato Institute senior fellow, makes the very strong case for Turkey’s ejection from NATO. He writes (abridged):
Early in the Syrian war, the Erdogan government allowed Islamic State personnel easy passage across its border. Smuggling was rife: Erdogan’s son-in-law and oil minister was accused of being involved in the profitable though illicit trade. In early 2018, Ankara launched an offensive against Syrian Kurds who had cooperated with U.S. forces against ISIS. In demanding the creation of a buffer zone, Erdogan even threatened to confront American personnel.
Erdogan also turned against Israel, costing him support from that nation’s advocates in America. Ankara continued to spar with Greece militarily, refusing to recognize Greek airspace surrounding islands near Turkey, and remained a major obstacle to a settlement in Cyprus. The discovery of undersea natural gas fields in Cypriot waters led to further conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, eliciting retaliation by the European Union.
The Turkish population is already one of the most hostile to America in the world, with only 18 percent of Turks viewing the U.S. favorably in 2017. An incredible 72 percent viewed us as a “major threat.” That’s the highest level among the 30 nations polled by the Pew Research Center.
Moreover, growing Islamization in Turkey reflects popular beliefs more than government policy. That makes antagonism toward America more likely and reconciliation with Israel less likely. Previous nationalist governments have treated Greece and Cyprus more coldly and Kurdish citizens more harshly than have Erdogan’s.
The Brookings Institution’s Amanda Sloat observed: “Ankara wonders if Washington cares about its security needs, and Washington wonders if Ankara is a reliable ally.” Both answers are no. But that won’t change.
It is unlikely that NATO, despite being so eager for new members, would invite Turkey to join today.
Ankara has effectively chosen to leave the alliance. The U.S. and other members should ratify that decision and work with Turkey to create a new cooperative framework when their interests align. New circumstances require new policies.
Read more here.
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