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Turkey With Erdoğan, Friend Or Foe?

Turkey With Erdoğan, Friend Or Foe?

While Turkey has been part of NATO for years, by no means has this ever been a mutually comfortable agreement, part of this is they for some reason think they still have the same clout they had when they were the Ottoman Empire, the other is they are a nation with feet both in Europe and in radical Islam. This does not make good a good ally, rather more one of convenience and it shows. Since Erdoğan has taken power things, have gotten much, much worse. 

When I decided I wanted to write on this, I was trying to get a feel for what the people felt, started to go on boards with Turkish civilians, what I found was rather startling. While many are happy to be part of NATO, almost to a person they all feel without them NATO would not exist, they feel like the greatest strength in NATO they should have a greater say in how things are done, and they should be granted acceptance into EU, no questions asked. 

But there were comments that caused great concern, for some reason they feel they are a nuclear power that has equal if not better deterrence ability then Israel does. I asked some of them to clarify; they informed me that the US nukes loaned to NATO, that are on base in Turkey are their nukes. These same people would get offended when I told them these nukes were US nukes, they had to be released from the President to be used, and were in under US supervision and care the whole time, I was informed, even by ex-military officers that this was nonsense, they were Turkish nukes. I am wondering if it is wise with this type of thought so widespread to even have any nukes stationed there, what would happen if Turkey wanted access, would they take them by force?

Turkey’s problem goes deeper then this, their push to get involved with other elections, trying to force Europe to not only take their citizens in to affect their demographics, but to take in countless Arab migrations is putting Europe in dire straights. Last year when Holland said they were not going to take more migrants, it was too much for them, also that the Turks that Turkey kept sending should go back to Turkey, Turkey took to threatening not just Holand but all of the EU, threatening to open their borders and allow waves of migrants into Europe. They seem to have a knack for doing this type of thing, pushing their citizens into other European countries, then demanding they have a voice far larger then what their numbers are. 

So where did things go wrong? Turkey used to be a bastion that touched both the Middle East and Europe, was in a great position to serve as a blocking area to the Soviet Empire, so Europe was willing to make concessions, but now the threat from Russia, while still there is nothing like it was under the old Soviet Union, the simple fact is NATO had moved its borders closer to Russia, thus they would have to deal with these nations before they even took a look at trying to send forces to attack through Turkey. 

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the great leader of Turkey after the loss of the first World War, the Surrender of most of their Middle East holdings, saw old Islamic ways as much of the problem in Turkey, forced through his own self will a modernization of both the political view of the people, but how they lived their lives as well. He broke the Islamic hold that was on political power, put in place a separation of powers, as much as you could do in Islamic authority. This did cause some great resistance, but he had no use for any of it, quickly quieted them and moved on pushing Turkey into the modern age. Today he is revered, but sadly many Turks now look back wistfully when the Ottoman and thus Islamic power was one of the great movers in the world, this set up the path for the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan has since he first took office moved to push a greater influence of Islam in the government, pines for returning the nation to the ways of old, and dare say to try to expand their influence to bring back the predominance they had when they were the Ottoman Empire.  Erdoğan, who played soccer in his youth, then rode his name recognition to power, first as the Mayor of Istanbul with the Islamic Welfare Party, was put in jail for four months and stripped of office as he pushed to bring religion back into the government. The Welfare party was stripped of all power and disbanded after a coup, one of many in Turkey, due to its political pressure to bring Islamification of Turkey and its political structure. 


Erdoğan, not one to stay down abandoned openly Islamist politics and established the moderate conservative AKP in 2001, then after 2002, when the party he co-founded with Abdullah Gül took power, Abdullah Gül did away with the ban, thus allowing Erdoğan to once more rise to power. Hindsight shows us this was all planned from the beginning, basically, Gül was a front man to put Erdoğan back in power, shortly after overruling the ban on Erdoğan from serving in any political office, a year later he stepped forward as Turkey’s Prime Minister. 


Erdoğan, a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical groups then came to become public knowledge, rather than back off he openly embraced these radical Islamic terrorist groups.  He has gone so far as to back blockade running, a move that was since shown to be known by him to go to Gaza with the expressed purpose of conflict with Israeli forces, thus he was able to use this incident to cut off ties to Israel. Naturally, Obama being the inept idiot with foreign policy blamed most of that on Israel and forced them to apologize to Turkey to make himself and Erdoğan look better. 

But Erdoğan was not done here since that time not only has he supported the terrorist groups against Israel, he has openly threatened them over the Trump recognition of the city of Jerusalem as their capital, saying not only will he cut off all diplomatic ties with them, personally, if I were Israel I would tell him to go to hell. The fact is Turkey needs Israel more then they need them. The move by Israel to sell gas to Cyprus, Jordan, and Egypt is driving him crazy, but not enough that he is not willing to work out a deal to get hold of some of that gas himself. If I were Israel, there is plenty of need for this with Europe; I would sell it to Greece and Europe and tell him no, then build the pipeline from Cyprus to Crete, then you could give access to Europe, they are more stable then Turkey is. 

Lately things have grown from bad to worse with the US and Turkish relations, this is with the threats over American support of Kurds in the Syrian conflict, Erdoğan has gone so far as to threaten US troops if they are with Kurdish forces, saying they are fair game in Turkey’s quest to destroy any hopes of an independent Kurdish enclave. He issued this government statement:

The operation may start anytime. Operations into other regions will come after . . . America has acknowledged it is in the process of creating a terror army on our border. What we have to do is nip this terror army in the bud…” Saying that Turkey’s allies should not dare help what he termed terrorists in Syria, he declared, “We won’t be responsible for the consequences.”

What Should Be Done

I think it high time we take a hard look at our relations with Turkey, an ally would work with us, not threaten to attack our troops, threaten our allies with action if they don’t comply with their demands, but before we do any of that, we would be wise, even though it would cost us to give back all investments they made into the development of the F35, all high tech military sales should stop as long as Erdoğan is power. 

I would suggest at the same time we are doing this, figure out a way to move our nukes out of Incirlik AFB, we need to look rather at putting them in a more stable nation like Germany or Britain, what is terrifying is the people there actually think these nukes are their’s, I would hate to see the government one day decide that it is in their best interests to seize the 50 or so nukes we have there. 

What is the most troubling of all is the now open support of Turkey with terrorist? I find it rather hypocritical that Turkey screams and yells at Israel over giving the Arabs there an independent state, then threatens war over the same thing with the Kurds. I wrote on this a couple of months ago with It Is Time To Stand Up For the Kurdish People, how these courageous people have been left out of all talks, have been attacked by Iran, Turkey, Iraq, many to the point of trying to exterminate them, they were the ones that were fighting ISIS while Turkey was smuggling in oil from them and allowing their followers access to ISIS through their borders. 

Turkey isn’t a friend of the West; they look at us more as a useful tool, someone to use, typical with many Islamic nations you see. With the hopes of grandeur and dreams of a rebuilt Ottoman Empire, I would say that Turkey is more a foe than a friend, by threatening US troops they show this even more. We need to relook at our relationship with them; one has to ask, “What are we getting out of it?




About The Author

Timothy Benton

Student of history, a journalist for the last 2 years. Specialize in Middle East History, more specifically modern history with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Also, a political commentator has been a lifetime fan of politics.

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