Why NATO Should Dump Turkey
by Raheem Kassam
Some of us have been expressing deep concerns about the regress of the country of Ataturk for years, while others, including Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and his European Parliamentary colleagueDaniel Hannan MEP, have been agitating for an immediate inclusion of Turkey into the EU. It simply cannot happen.It’s time to dump Turkey from NATO, and immediately suspend its accession process to the European Union (EU). There, I said it.
This morning’s downing of a Russian jet underscores the problems with Turkey’s NATO membership and EU accession. It is perhaps not the worst example of how Turkey is not fit to be in a formal military alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States, but it underscores the point that the country is simply not ready – not even as ready as it was pre-2000. The country has regressed in three key areas as far as Europe and the United States should be concerned: on security matters, on human rights matters, and as a hub for mass migration into Europe.
This morning, the Turks shot down a Russian aircraft. So far, reports indicate the Russian SU-24 skirted into Turkish airspace, which, of course, the country is within its rights to defend. The attack comes after a number of incidents in which the Turkish government has accused Russia of violating its airspace. In October, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made clear the nation’s intentions to shoot down a Russian plane should the nation violate its airspace one more time: “Even if it’s a flying bird, whoever violates Turkish airspace will be subject to the necessary actions… Turkey’s rules of engagement are valid for Syria’s, Russia’s or another country’s warplanes.”
Turkey’s open prejudice to any Russian involvement in the region – likely a response to Putin’s warm relationship with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad – taints its decision to attack today. What are the chances that Vladimir Putin or his generals had genuinely ordered one of his Syria rebel-focused aircraft to attempt a bombing run on Istanbul? Nil. Just look at how the Brits react to Russian “provocation” in our air space to determine what a grown up response to this sort of relatively normal behaviour is: “Pilots say the encounters are not hostile and they sometimes even wave at each other.”But Turkey had made clear it was not comfortable with Russia’s presence in the Middle East at all from the start. Davutoglu called Russia’ involvement “very dangerous” and expressed a hope that “İnşallah [God willing] Russia will not insist on ways and methods that will increase the tension.”
The situation is obviously more tense on the Turkey-Syria border than it is in the North Sea. But what the Turks will hopefully have thought about before shooting down this aircraft is the NATO ramifications. If and when Mr. Putin responds, how will the United States and European allies react to Turkey invoking Article 5 of the NATO treaty: “collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.”
In fact we shouldn’t be flippant about Turkey’s slide into Islamism. President Erdogan has dragged a previously secular state into an almost all-out war with its Kurdish population, and has presided over a shift in Turkish policy towards Israel, which Mr. Erdogan accused of “crimes against humanity” in 2008. Unsurprising, perhaps, given the country’s noteworthy aggrandisement of the Muslim Brotherhood, and assistance with the Gaza flotillas, but still worthy of comment, and perhaps indicative of the fact that a regional, rather than ideological bloc like NATO is a little outdated itself. Over the past four U.S. presidents, NATO has approved 16 non-member states as “major, non-NATO allies” – including Israel, Australia, Jordan, Argentina, and Thailand.I’m not interested in my country going to war with Russia because the Turks can’t keep it in their pants. And I’m certainly not interested in going to war on their behalf when they have been integral to the funding of terrorists groups like ISIS, and indeed massively useful to Al Qaeda affiliates like Al Nusra Front.
Turkey’s cheap assistance to ISIS, literally and figuratively speaking, makes it diametrically opposed to the goals (or should-be goals) of the West towards the terrorist group.
And what a crock the country has become in the way of human rights, with Kurds in Turkey, though not without their own faults, under collective oppression and denigration at the hands of the state. European security sources have been remarked that Turkey has used, and will continue to use Europe’s migrant crisis to rid themselves of the “troublesome” Kurds.
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