Why Turkey Should Be Removed From NATO

Read the companion piece to this one: Kicking Turkey Out Of NATO Would Be A Massive Mistake

Whatever strategic value that Turkey may have to the United States and the rest of NATO can be considered as good as null and void in light of a series of events that have taken place over the last five years.

During this time period, the world has seen Turkey, under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, slowly morph from a beacon of democracy in the Middle East to a rogue state.

Ever since Syria descended into civil war in 2011, Erdogan has made it very clear that he wishes to see anti-government forces oust longtime Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

He has made Turkey into a sponsor of these rebel groups.

On multiple occasions, it has been demonstrated that these groups are willing to make deals with and, at times, openly ally with jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, both which have vowed to destroy America and attacked American civilians on American soil.

By logic, it is then safe to state that Erdogan has contributed at least indirectly that Turkey has played a role in the rise of ISIS.

The rise of ISIS and other jihadi groups in Syria has exacerbated and increased the stakes of the conflict there, to the point where a proxy war now rages between the US, Britain, France, Turkey, and the Arab monarchies on one side; and with Russia, Iran, and Iraq on the other.

It has also contributed a major role in the refugee crisis that is currently plaguing Europe and Syria’s neighbors.

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

So, how has Turkey taken advantage of this crisis, which it is partially responsible for? Let’s start with the proxy war first.

Turkey has engaged in multiple hostile acts against its opponents in this proxy cold war that could have turned it into a hot war.

First, in the most well-known such incident, it shot down a Russian plane conducting missions over Syria after it reportedly crossed over Turkish territory for seventeen seconds.

Second, it has threatened to invade Syria in order to protect ethnic Turkmen and over clashes between Turkish forces and Syrian Kurdish militias.

Turkey has also allegedly sent troops into Iraq without the permission of its government as the Syrian crisis spills over into it.

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Regarding the refugee crisis, Turkey has indicated its willingness to use it as an excuse to push other agendas.

It has made much more trivial issues ranging from travel visas to domestic terrorism laws into potential spoilers in negotiations on the control of migration flows into Europe.

This, without doubt, will be seen by those who view the migration crisis as a national security risk, as blackmail that states, “Do what we say or there will be terrorist attacks.”

In addition to the Turkish role in the developments of the Syrian and migration crises, Turkey has also shown open contempt for democracy and human rights, principles which are promoted (at least in word) by NATO.

Read More: 10 Days In Turkey: An American Student Comes Face To Face With The Islamic Crisis Of Modernity

On its own soil, people are arrested on a regular basis for “insulting the president.”

Protests and dissenting newspapers are subjected to violent crackdowns.

President Erdogan has been accused of inciting violence against pro-Kurdish (a minority ethnic group that resides in the southwest of the country, as well as in parts of Syria, Iraq, and Iran) political parties.

As of 2013, Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than any other country.

And finally, Erdogan has succeeded in forcing the ouster of the Prime Minister, former political ally Ahmet Davutoglu, as part of his attempts to increase the powers of the President, whose role has traditionally been ceremonial.

Erdogan’s attempts to curb democracy are not limited to his home country.

He has played a role in the disruption of democratic order in other countries as well.

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

For example, he has contributed to the curbing of free speech in Germany by demanding that a satirical poem about him written by German comedian Jan Böhmermann be banned under a law that forbids the insulting of foreign heads of state, despite the fact that Erdogan was not even on German soil at the time the poem was broadcast on a local television station.

A German court has partially complied, ruling that 18 of the 24 line in the poem are unacceptable and cannot be read in public, on pain of imprisonment or a fine.

In addition, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has been caught attempting to coerce Turkish organizations in the Netherlands to report on insults against Erdogan on Dutch soil.

And then, there is Erdogan’s security detail, which seems to have the mentality that it is above the laws of other countries, as demonstrated by a series of violent incidents with civilians, journalists, other security details, and even law enforcement when visiting countries such as the United States, Belgium, and Ecuador.

Turkey, under the leadership of Recep Erdogan, has demonstrated through its recent actions the following:

  • It isn’t willing to take the war on terrorism seriously.
  • It is willing to get into bed with the enemies of its NATO allies.
  • It is willing to cause unnecessary conflicts that could drag in NATO allies in order to achieve its individual foreign policy goals.
  • It is willing to put politics over the national security of its NATO allies.
  • It isn’t willing to promote democracy
  • It is willing to curb democracy, both at home and abroad.
  • It is willing to cause disorder on the soil of its NATO allies to prove a point.

Are these the characteristics of an ally, much less a NATO ally? These sound more like the characteristics of a rogue state. Until Turkey cleans up its act, it must be treated as such, and certain actions, including an exclusion from NATO, are welcome.

Read the companion piece to this one: Kicking Turkey Out Of NATO Would Be A Massive Mistake

Do you with agree with this view? Give us your take in the comments below. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

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About the Author
James Kardys is a fourth year student at the University of Miami. He majors in political science and international relations. He has written articles for RISE NEWS since May 2016, and for Turning Point USA since November 2014.
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