Our supposed ally and NATO partner Turkey is back in the headlines, once again for all the wrong sorts of reasons. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in something of a spat with France’s Emmanuel Macron over the past couple of months and their relationship is clearly continuing to deteriorate. This week, Turkey’s Ambassador to France suggested that it might be time for his country to leave the NATO alliance, going on to imply that there wouldn’t even be a functional body such as NATO without Turkey’s participation. And you thought the French were snooty and rude? They’ve got nothing on the Turks these days. (Free Beacon)
A Turkish official raised the possibility of the country leaving NATO, according to a Tuesday Reuters report.
Citing an already tenuous relationship with fellow member states, Turkish ambassador to France Ismail Hakki Musa questioned NATO’s capabilities absent Turkey’s involvement. “Imagine NATO without Turkey,” he said. “You would have no NATO.”
Turkey has pivoted away from the alliance in recent months. The country recently bought fighter jets from Russia, strengthening its ties with the longtime NATO competitor. Meanwhile, it has cracked down on domestic dissent, imprisoning a group of journalists last year and recently loosening protections for Uighur refugees from China.
The decline of Turkey’s once-promising democracy and their increasingly close ties to Russia, China, Iran and other bad actors is a major disappointment. The recent spat with France would be both shocking and alarming if it weren’t for the fact that it’s largely in keeping with the Tyrant of Turkey’s recent actions.
The dispute in question took place last month when a Tanzanian freighter in the Mediterranean was suspected of illegal arms smuggling and other violations. A French ship flying the NATO flag was dispatched to intercept them and conduct routine inspections. In response, Turkey sent three of their own warships out to target the French ship with their targeting radar systems and armed their crews in a threatening fashion. The Tanzanian ship was assisted in getting away.
Does that sound like the actions of an ally to you? Of course, Americans were already all too familiar with Turkey’s many ham-handed maneuvers over the past couple of years. They not only held an American pastor hostage for more than two years but more recently took the side of Syrian forces under Bashar al Assad over the Kurds who have been fighting as allies to the United States. On top of that, Turkey has conducted arms deals with the Russians, purchasing missile systems that are not compatible with the rest of NATO’s forces.
Erdogan has also been cozying up with both China and Iran of late, in addition to providing material assistance to Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro while he’s been under sanctions from virtually everyone else. The list goes on. Turkey has been playing both sides of the coin for years, soaking up all the benefits of being a member of NATO while acting in direct conflict to the organization’s goals.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s time for the United States and the rest of our NATO partners to either fish or cut bait. If Turkey doesn’t want to act as a reasonable ally, they should be dropped from NATO’s ranks. Yes, this would be a potentially costly move for both America and the rest of NATO, as we would have to deploy our military forces elsewhere in the region if we’re losing access to Turkey’s airbases. But what good is their military strength doing for NATO if it’s being deployed to help our adversaries rather than our allies? And something tells me that if we get close to pulling the trigger on this action, Erdogan may suddenly see the light and come back to the table. Direct confrontation and significant action are probably the only things he understands and respects.