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Should Turkey be booted from NATO?

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Should Turkey be booted from NATO?

Should Turkey be booted from NATO?
October 21
16:23 2019

The question that needs to be asked: Is Turkey a fox in the henhouse?

The Turkey that was admitted into NATO in 1952 was not the same country we see today.  Like many nations in the Middle East, it was a western leaning secular democracy – that is until a guy name Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came along.

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Back in 1952, Turkey – under the leadership of Mahmut Celâl Bayar — was a belated ally of the United States in World War II.  It was a strategically and geographically important nation in holding back the expansionist policies of the old Soviet Union during the Cold War.  It hosted American military bases – some of the closest to the Soviet border.

Bringing Turkey into the mutual defense pact made a lot of sense. It was another push back against the old Soviet Union’s aggression and expansionism along its borders.   Turkey bordered on Georgia, which was then part of the Soviet Union – and has again been occupied by Russia.  Having a military base bordering Russian property was particularly unnerving to the folks in Moscow – especially that former KGB operative Vladimir Putin.

Turkey was the first and only Muslim majority country to join NATO.  As a secular democracy, that was not a problem. Erdoğan, however, is more of a fundamentalist Muslim and he transitioned Turkey into more of a theocracy – imposing many of the provisions of Sharia Law.  He also ended much of Turkey’s democratic policies – essentially becoming a dictator.  In many ways, that was a continuation of the de-westernization of several nations in the Middle East – including Iran, Lebanon, and Syria.

As Turkey became more and more of a fundamentalist Muslim theocracy, the relationship with the United States and the NATO nations became strained.   It is now an uneasy alliance as Turkey’s ambitions collide with NATO policies.  Perhaps the only thing keeping Turkey in the NATO orbit is a mutual adversarial relationship with Russia.  It was not long ago that Turkey created an international incident when it shot down a Russian fighter jet.  But even that seems to be evolving as Russia moves into the space and issues between Turkey and Syria – a vacuum created by the withdrawal of the United States.

Turkey is pointing to Article 5 of the NATO treaty which declares that an attack on anyone NATO nation is to be considered an attack on all.  Despite all the skirmishes involving NATO nations, Article 5 was only invoked once in the alliance’s seventy-year history – and that was when the United States was attacked on 9/11.

In pointing to Article 5, Erdoğan declares that NATO has an obligation to side with Turkey – but the issue is not that simple.  Even if a NATO nation is attacked, the nature of the attack has to be evaluated.  Article 5 is not an automatic trigger.  In the case of the incursion into Kurd-occupied Syria, Turkey is the aggressor.  The NATO nations have no obligation to support Turkey – in fact, many – including the United States – have called on Turkey to cease its military operations and withdraw from the Kurdish autonomous regions of Syria.

To achieve a ceasefire or pause, the United States has placed sanctions on Turkey – and threatened more.  Other Nations have banned military shipments to Turkey.

If the admission of Turkey made sense under the old regime, it no longer makes sense.  Under Erdoğan, Turkey is a rogue nation within NATO.  It is no friend of the United States no matter how Trump feels about Erdoğan.  The Alliance should unite in pressuring Turkey to ends its military intrusion – and if that fails, expulsion should be put on the table.

So, there ‘tis,


About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. Gourdhead
    Gourdhead October 22, 21:27

    Turkey should have been booted from NATO when Erdogan took control of Turkey.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ron
    Ron October 22, 21:35

    YES ! Turkey should be booted from NATO on the grounds of following Portal
    Agreement !

    Reply to this comment
  3. RDB
    RDB October 23, 19:49

    Whats all this talk about Turkey, its not even Halloween yet !

    Reply to this comment

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