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Has Turkey Become One Of NATO’s Biggest Challenges?

At a time in which a multi-polar order is rising, Turkey has emerged, not only as a regional Middle-East power, but also a strategic issue to the Washington-led NATO agenda for world domination. Ankara continues to delay the introduction of Sweden and Finland into the NATO alliance, also refusing to go along with the alliance’s agenda in multiple arenas.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has lashed out at Finland and Sweden, attaching additional conditions to approving the two Nordic states bids to join the NATO alliance, requests of which have been pending since last year. Only Hungary and Turkey, out of the 30 NATO member states, have so far refused to endorse the entry of Helsinki and Stockholm into the alliance, posing a problem to the US-run agenda of the alliance, which has sought to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. Although NATO member states such as Germany and France, which have historically been more hesitant to back US war endeavors, are proving their subservience to the American agenda in Ukraine, Turkey has proven a significant challenge to bring on side.

In the past, the NATO member state had not proven the greatest of challenges to the agenda of Washington in the Middle East — although there were certainly some disputes. Ankara today is fitting into the emerging multi-polar order in an intelligent way. On the issue of the Ukraine war, Turkey has chosen to condemn Moscow’s decision to enter the war and has even sent supplies to Kyiv, yet, it has opted for a neutral-type position despite this, still continuing its trade relations with its Russian neighbor.

Turkey’s President, Erdogan, claims that the biggest obstacle to allowing Finland and Sweden to enter NATO — which every member of the alliance must agree on before introducing new members — is their lack of a clear stance when it comes to Kurdish armed groups that Ankara sees as terrorist organizations. Although the Turkish government most certainly has a problem with the Kurdish movement in general, more specifically the armed groups, it also regularly uses its feud with the Kurdish groups in order to achieve other goals too. In the case of Finnish-Swedish NATO membership, the excuse issued by Turkey may be an example of this. Ankara having little problem in rebuilding relations with Tel Aviv recently, despite its known involvement with Kurdish groups operating in both Syria and Iraq, is a case in point. In addition to this, fellow NATO member states, most prominently the US, actively back/backed the Kurdish militant group known as the YPG — a Syrian offshoot of the PKK — which serves as the most important group in running the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in North Eastern Syria. The SDF are in fact the proxy force for the US government, which maintain the de facto American occupation of a third of Syrian territory. 

Following the burning of an effigy, which was strung up in Stockholm during a small protest just over a week ago, President Erdogan has now claimed that the two Nordic nations must deport or extradite “around 130 of these terrorists to us,” for Turkey to even consider voting for their induction into NATO. In specific, the goal of Finnish entry to NATO would be a massive propaganda victory for the US over Russia, as one of the reasons behind initiating this war with Ukraine was to keep NATO off Russia’s border, which means that any nation that votes for achieving this could certainly upset Moscow, to say the least.

In August of last year, following the issuance of a warning by the US Treasury, that Turkish businesses could be at risk of being penalized for maintaining commercial ties with Russians under sanctions, Ankara dismissed the warnings as “meaningless“, confirming that trade, tourism, and investments would continue as normal. The NATO alliance’s agenda has clearly been to isolate Russia, to bog it down in a second Afghanistan-type conflict that will lead to its collapse, like happened with the former Soviet Union. Yet we are no longer in an international reality that is inevitably heading towards complete US domination, rather, the writing has been on wall for a long time, to suggest that the “New World Order” is ending.

Turkey is fitting into its role as an emerging Middle East powerhouse, one that will do whatever benefits its growth as a nation. A result of this approach is what we also see in Syria and Iraq, another area where Washington’s agenda is being actively challenged. Now that the Turkish economy is no longer suffering, as it was back in 2019 for example, and its trade relations have boomed, as has its importance as a diplomatic go-between, Ankara is heading towards rapprochement with the Syrian government, a step which most of Turkey’s NATO-allies are opposed to. However, because of the Turkish place in NATO’s alliance, there is little that can truly be done if they seek to normalize with Syria and then force another incursion into North Eastern Syria, held jointly by US ground forces and the SDF. Ankara is also working with another enemy of the West, the Islamic Republic of Iran, forming a strategic relationship with Tehran whereby coordination on strategic issues has been growing, even on the issue of both sides combating Kurdish militant groups in Iraq.

The two past Turkish incursions into Syrian territory, in the North West (2018) and North East (2019), were not combated by the US military. In fact, the US completely abandoned its Kurdish allies as soon as Turkey invaded, this is despite having used their Kurdish allies as the ground force to seize territory occupied by Daesh terrorists. Similarly in Northern Iraq, known now as Iraqi Kurdistan, the US aided the Kurdish movements there and have a large sway over the policies of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), yet they have never taken significant steps to prevent Turkish military actions in the territory’s north.

Although the US did impose limited sanctions on Turkey’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of the Russian anti-air missile system, known as the S-400 system, the action taken under the Trump administration in 2020 did little to change the trajectory of Ankara’s policies. Although the Turkish government has proven itself useful to the West in various ways (one of which was facilitating the failed mission to overthrow the Syrian government) its current goals seem to be shifting further away from being shaped by the Western sphere of influence. This will prove a serious challenge to NATO’s US-led agenda and is but only one aspect of the new multi-polar order, in which the White House’s once all-powerful presence is now being cut down to size.

Robert Inlakesh
Robert Inlakesh is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, Middle-East analyst & news correspondent for The Last American Vagabond.

One Reply to “Has Turkey Become One Of NATO’s Biggest Challenges?

  1. The Turks are the oldest and most-implacable enemies of European civilization. Over its long history, the Ottoman Sunni Muslim empire made dozens of attempts to conquer Christendom, as Europe was then known, a fact which has been lost to history for most modern people only because of the poor state of historical education in much of the West, and the fact that the Ottoman Empire fell in the early 1920s.

    Modern “secular” Turkey is often held up as proof that Turkey has changed into a partner which can be trusted, but the long interregnum of secularism under Ataturk is receding further and further into the past as the Islamic Republic of Turkey reasserts its explicitly Muslim identity under President Recep Erdogan, who is an unreconstructed Islamic supremacist and neo-Ottoman.

    Turkey should never have been admitted to NATO in the first place. That’s akin to inviting the wolf into the hen house.

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