Turkey’s military in the alliance is second only to America in size. President Erdogan nominally sides with Russia and Iran on Syria.
His sincerity is another issue entirely. He’s long coveted annexing northern Syrian and Iraqi territory, especially its oil-rich areas.
His economic ties with Russia and Iran are growing. As long as he supports terrorists in Syria, trilateral relations are fraught with uncertainties.
His relations with Washington deteriorated significantly since the 2016 aborted coup attempt to unseat him.
He blamed the plot on ex-pat cleric Fethullah Gulen, living in Pennsylvania. Washington refuses to extradite him. No evidence indicates his involvement in what happened. He denies accusations against him.
Erdogan is at odds with Washington over its support for Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. He’s upset over the Trump administration treating him as both a NATO ally and Eurasian adversary.
While playing the Russia and US cards simultaneously, he’s increasingly shifting his allegiance East, away from the West – another body blow to Washington’s imperial agenda.
On Monday, Erdogan’s chief advisor Yalcin Topcu told local media
“(i)t is time to reconsider our membership in NATO.”
“We do not need an organization that displays in every possible way its hostile attitude towards its member. The issue of our presence in that organization should be urgently considered in the Turkish parliament.”
“A traitorously hostile tone sounds in regard to our country and the elected president. It is about the meanness and disgrace shown during the NATO exercises, where the photo of Ataturk and Erdogan’s name were paired with hostile intentions.”
Erdogan called it “a scandal,” adding “(t)hey know that they cannot stop our country, which is why they are putting us on a target board.”
“I hope that those who welcomed attacks against us before now understand the real face of the matter, as Ataturk was also included.”
“The issue is not a personal or party issue. The target is Turkey and the Turkish nation.” Erdogan rebuffed NATO secretary general Stoltenberg’s apology, adding:
“Yesterday, you have witnessed the impudence at NATO exercises in Norway. There are some mistakes that cannot be committed by fools but only by vile people,” showing “a distorted point of view that we have observed in NATO for a while.”
“This matter cannot be covered over with a simple apology.”
Topcu added “(i)t’s time to reconsider our membership in NATO. An organization that shows its hostile attitude to its member in every way.”
He called alliance behavior toward Ankara “brutal and dishonorable.” On Sunday, Erdogan threatened to remove US radar systems from Turkey if Washington fails to deliver F-35 warplanes purchased.
In response to Turkey buying Russian S-400 air defense systems, the Trump administration threatened to renege on the F-35 deal.
Will strained Turkish/US relations rupture? Turkey has been a NATO member since October 1951.
Will Erdogan’s anger over US treatment of Ankara get him to leave the alliance after all these years?
If so, it would be a major blow to US hegemonic ambitions.
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