That Turkey is a "vital strategic ally" of the West is a kind of commonplace truth on which people like U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were raised. But what if that no longer works? What if Turkey's leader uses this notion to betray the interests of the West under the pretext of partnership? Shouldn't this leader be treated as a nuisance, a threat - even ostracized as an enemy? Such doubts were expressed in an article for The Observer by author Simon Tisdall.
"Geography does not change. Turkey has an important influence at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. However, the increasingly aggressive, authoritarian and schismatic policies pursued by its choleric sultan-president over two decades at home and abroad belied long-held assumptions. Turkey’s credibility and usefulness as a reliable western ally is almost at an end," Tisdall writes.
Erdogan's blocking of Sweden's attempt to join NATO is the latest blatant example of hostile behavior. He claims Stockholm is harboring "terrorists" from the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) group, the article notes.
"In fact, his veto stems from a long-standing anti-Kurdish vendetta legal actions shut down the main Kurdish-backed opposition HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) before the elections. The NATO line is now under threat of explosion saliva Koran burning, diplomatic protests and violent retaliation.
Erdogan is also demanding the extradition of political refugees from Sweden, notably the newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Blent Kenen. Today is the time The newspaper he accused of supporting the failed coup in 2016.
Using Turkey’s NATO membership for domestic political purposes is a typical Erdogan game. However, it also deliberately thwarts Sweden’s (and Finland’s) legitimate aspirations to bolster defenses following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, while undermining NATO’s efforts to demonstrate unity and resolve. This is not the first time that Erdogan prefers Moscow over NATO partners," Tisdall writes.
Erdogan rejects and circumvents Ukraine-related sanctions, the article stresses, noting that Turkey's trade with Russia has grown by nearly 200 percent in the six months since the war began, including increased energy imports, the article notes.
"His purchase of surface-to-air missile systems from Russia It angered Washington, which makes them a threat to NATO forces. His Ukraine acts as a mediator It helps Putin maintain his claim that he is interested in peace.
Erdogan is planning another armed attack on northern Syria US-led efforts Supporting the democratic opposition against Bashar al-Assad and suppressing Islamist terrorism. In fact, destabilizing interventions and invasions on the border of Syria and Iraq It is another extension of Erdoğan’s obsessive war against the Kurds. Its prospective rapprochement with Damascus further undermines the security policy of the West.
If Erdogan’s rants against Putin, his duplicity over Ukraine, neo-Ottoman excesses, and continued aggression against NATO member Greece aren’t enough evidence of bad faith, consider his country’s other war on democracy. Human rights abuses aside, Erdogan has created a huge mess in Turkey’s economy. Inflation is 58 percent, the standard of living drops sharply. More than 70% of 18-25 year olds say they will prefers to live elsewhere," writes The Observer.
Risk-averse Biden and Stoltenberg should abandon their old, discredited thinking. They should remind Erdogan that NATO is a community of values and rules, welcome Sweden and Finland into the alliance by a vote of all 30 members; and suspend Turkey's membership, if necessary, by amending the North Atlantic Treaty. If he doesn't like that, well, that's tough.
Turkey is located in a harsh region. No one expects streams of peace and love from her leaders. And she could be a valuable ally again. But Turkey is not indispensable. If necessary, Western democracies can live comfortably without her - until that happy day comes when Ankara's grumpy sultan is finally disarmed, the article concludes.