If you think we have politicians in the United States who make wild-eyed, unrealistic claims to puff themselves up, our elected officials can’t hold a candle to Turkey. Yesterday, the Tyrant of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, released a new policy statement claiming that Turkey would use their military might in that region to bring peace, safety and stability to Iraq and the contested regions of Syria. Even if such a lofty goal were possible in the short term, the state of the government in Turkey at the moment hardly recommends them as the prospective savior of the residents of the region. (Reuters)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Sunday to bring peace and safety to Iraq and areas in Syria not under Turkish control and said terrorist organizations in those areas would be eliminated.

Turkey, which has backed some rebel groups in Syria, has been working with Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and Iran for a political resolution to the crisis.

It has so far carried out two cross-border operations along its border with Syria and set up a dozen military observations posts in the northern Syrian region of Idlib.

This is completely typical of Erdogan ever since he moved to claim essentially despotic power over his nation. He talks out of both sides of his mouth while claiming to be both a loyal ally and the victim of numerous, vague conspiracies. He claimed to be fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and to be fair the Turks did launch some strikes against the terror group. But at the same time he showed a lot more interest in pursuing and destroying the Kurds, who have been staunch allies of the United States. In fact, some of his strikes potentially endangered American military advisers in the area.

Erdogan claims to still be a loyal member of NATO and reaps all the benefits which come with such status. Yet at the same time, one report out this week describes relations between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin as “cozy.” It’s clear that as the fight over the fate of American Pastor Andrew Brunson continues to sour diplomatic ties between Turkey and the United States, Erdogan is hedging his bets by playing nice with the Russians. (Fox News)

Switching partners is becoming a familiar dance for Turkey, which is strategically situated between Asia and Europe and often caught in the geopolitical push and pull of the turbulent Mideast region. Despite his country’s economic vulnerability, Erdogan seemed to be signaling that it had alternatives to the traditional alliances that date from its Cold War role as a regional bulwark against Soviet power.

In Turkey’s view, “the U.S. has become even more threatening than Russia” due to strains over critical issues, Sener Akturk, an associate professor of international relations at Koc University in Istanbul, said. The perceived threat makes the U.S. “an ally that has to be paradoxically kept at arm’s length and even balanced against with Russian cooperation.”

Erdogan has also been getting very friendly with Iran. He’s long since ceased being anything even remotely resembling a reliable ally, but now he seems to have given up on even attempting a pretense of it. He’s playing both sides against the middle at this point, alternately offering to mend fences with Europe and America while simultaneously dealing with our most dangerous adversaries. It’s true that we have the ability to put the squeeze on Turkey’s economy and we’ve been doing so. But when it comes to military considerations and the instability in that region, the sad reality is that we still need Turkey a lot more than they need America or the rest of NATO. Erdogan knows this and has grown increasingly arrogant.

I bring up these stories on a semi-regular basis because this is one part of the world you should be keeping an eye on. If the NATO relationship with Turkey fails entirely it will have severe repercussions on the Syrian refugee situation, global economic conditions and the possibility of expanded wars in that part of the world. And Erdogan has sadly revealed himself to be one of the bad guys in this fight.