Does Erdogan’s Turkey Belong in NATO?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during the NATO summit in Brussels, June 14, 2021.



Every member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization warmly welcomed Finland and Sweden, except for one: Turkey, which on Wednesday blocked an early vote to begin negotiations. accede. For reasons that are political, spiritual and unrelated to this decision, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken a hard line in an attempt to derail future members. This raises the question of whether Turkey under Erdogan is part of the coalition.

Similarly, NATO members have shown steadfast determination since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with the exception of Turkey. With the exception of authorizing the sale of combat drones to Ukraine – an agreement between Kyiv and private defense manufacturer Baykar Makina signed before the war – Ankara has offered little fuss. than. Mr. Erdogan has tried to establish himself as a peace broker between Ukraine and Russia, mirroring his previous and similarly ineffective offer to negotiate with the Taliban during the US withdrawal last year.

This pacifist posture has provided cover for a model of cooperation with Moscow, including Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia in 2017. Since Russia’s invasion, Mr. Erdogan refused to send that system to Ukraine, refused to participate. NATO members sanction Russia, and allow Turkey to become a haven for Russian oligarchs, bank accounts and investments.

Mr. Erdogan’s mismanagement of the Turkish economy has left him in need of Russia’s economic support. While the average citizen faced inflated costs for basic goods, he continued to execute huge state contracts for allies, often through uncompetitive tenders. paintings and often for fanciful projects. Russia’s backing supports Mr. Erdogan’s regime and provides the Turkish President with a good-natured anti-democracy ally.

Freedom and transparency in Turkey has been affected by every measure under Mr. The 2021 Global Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Turkey 96th, down from 77th when he became prime minister in 2003. The 2021 Global Democracy Index ranks Turkey 103, down from 10th place. 88th place in 2006. Finland and Sweden ranked first and fourth in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, and sixth and fourth in the Global Democracy Index, respectively.

Tycoons close to Erdogan have systematically taken over the Turkish media, while the government has jailed many opposition journalists, transforming a once-rebellious domestic press. propaganda agency. International media has been harassed by the state broadcasting agency. Religious and ethnic minorities face persecution on a daily basis. Women’s rights have been trampled on.

NATO’s Open Door Policy stipulates that membership is open to any European country that can contribute to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area as long as that country meets the democratic requirements. certain. With the exception of Mr. Erdogan, no member of the coalition questioned whether the Nordic countries met those criteria. But does Turkey, which joined NATO in 1952, meet today’s membership criteria?

NATO’s biggest strategic failure of the past two decades has been to defeat Mr. Putin’s nefarious intentions while underestimating members’ capacity for collective resolve. The alliance risks repeating the same mistake with Mr.

Turkey is a member of NATO, but under Mr. Erdogan, it no longer adheres to the values ​​that underpin this great alliance. Article 13 of the NATO charter provides for a mechanism for member states to withdraw. Perhaps the time has come to amend Article 13 to establish a procedure for the expulsion of a member state that does not meet the principles and actual requirements for membership.

Mr. Lieberman was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000 and a United States senator from Connecticut, 1989-2013. Mr. Wallace served as the US ambassador to the United Nations for governance and reform under the administration of President George W. Bush. They are advisory board members and Executive Directors of the Turkish Democracy Project, respectively.

Review & Outlook: By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has united the NATO alliance, which will be stronger with Finland and Sweden as members. Image: Sputnik / TT News Agency / Lehtikuva / Reuters Synthesis: Mark Kelly

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