In a recent article, we pointed out that Turkey has one foot out of NATO, noting that it is time for Ankara to reconsider its foreign policy before NATO "officially" begins to distance itself from it.
The "cherry on the cake of Turkey's anti-Western trajectory since 2016 was put on the occasion of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, where Erdogan fully revealed his country's anti-Western face by praising and giving shelter to the Hamas terrorist organization , which he describes as "liberationist" and the state of Israel and its prime minister as "terrorists".
Erdogan undermines NATO
However, it seems that the conditions in the US for Turkey's expulsion from NATO have matured, as can be seen from the highly reputable and widely respected foreign policy mouthpiece of the US administration of the day, FOREIGN POLICY , which states that "It is time to reconsider Turkey's membership in NATO," noting:
"In almost every theater of vital security importance, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems dedicated to undermining the transatlantic alliance.
NATO membership was the best foreign policy pursuit Turkey has ever achieved in its existence as a democracy.
During the Cold War, its participation in the alliance prevented Turkey from being overrun by the Soviet Union and helped provide space for its economic development as a Western ally.
Why, then, does the alliance need to constantly struggle with an uncooperative and sometimes even anti-Turkish leader like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
It seems that, in any case, Erdogan is committed to undermining the transatlantic alliance.
Is it time for NATO to reconsider Turkey's membership?
It wasn't always like that. Turkish diplomats often like to remind their international counterparts that Turkey lives in a difficult neighbourhood and that maintaining its sovereignty is a testament to the ability of generations of Turkish politicians who have worked tirelessly to keep Ankara safe.
More than diplomatic ability, however, what has allowed Turkey to pursue its development goals has been the security cover provided by NATO membership.
Turkey's NATO membership and its "journey"
Turkey was admitted to the alliance in 1952 along with Greece because of the Truman administration's belief that containment of communism in Europe could not be achieved without their participation.
NATO membership, along with the assistance provided by the Truman Doctrine in the form of financial ($400 million for Greece and Turkey) and military aid, allowed Ankara to build a capable and modern military that provided democracy much of the weight it had long given to democracy in its pursuit of a connection with the West.
Ankara's willingness to play military roles in vital NATO missions such as Kosovo and Afghanistan gave Turkey a strong voice within the alliance.
As a result, many US administrations have paid particular attention to addressing Ankara's security concerns, be it Kurdish separatism or threats from Vladimir Putin's Russia.
In November 2015, after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet in its airspace (the first such case by a NATO country since 1952), Putin had to think very carefully about whether to respond militarily against a NATO member.
Suffice it to say that without NATO membership, there is good reason to believe that Turkey could have suffered a similar fate to that experienced by Ukraine since 2014.
Those were the good old days.
Turkey's turn against NATO
As of March 2022, the majority of the Turkish population now perceives the United States as the greatest threat to Turkey, while only 19% see Russia in the same light.
Under Erdogan's leadership, Ankara has worked tirelessly to undermine NATO security.
Take the Scandinavian enlargement of NATO, which Erdogan has held hostage since 2022.
What will it take for Erdogan to do the minimum of what is expected of a NATO ally and ratify Sweden's membership?
Answer, for Washington to agree to sell Turkey new F-16 fighter jets and perhaps a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House.
Transactions should not determine the behavior of NATO allies.
Instead, shared values and threat perceptions should.
The reason the United States and its allies want to admit Sweden to NATO in the first place is because Russia's belligerent behavior threatens European security and the assumption that Sweden will help strengthen NATO against that threat.
Turkey is not doing the least to prevent the Russian threat to European security
Indeed, in 2019, Turkey went so far as to acquire Russian military hardware (the S-400 missile system), which directly undermines NATO cohesion. Because of this move, Ankara was removed from the United States' F-35 programme and CAATSA sanctions were imposed by the Trump administration.
However, Erdogan has done nothing to retreat from this unacceptable position.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in 2022, the Biden administration has asked Erdogan - at times imposing sanctions on Turkish entities - to do more to prevent the country from providing a permissive economic environment that has allowed Russian oligarchs to circumvent international sanctions and move money. world through Turkey.
However, not only did Erdogan fail to do so, but recent reports have discovered that Turkey, with the presumed permission of its government, provided space in its territorial waters for Putin's personal yacht to undergo refurbishment , at the Tuzla shipyard.
Choose the theatre of vital security interests for the NATO alliance and you will discover Turkish interconnection actively undermining it.
Take, for example, the under-reported efforts to prevent the reconstruction of the Islamic State in Syria.
U.S. partner Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are among the most critical entities in the region that can help ensure that Islamic State fighters remain locked up in prisons while continuing to carry out counterterrorism missions against its remnants throughout the region.
However, Ankara has carried out military strikes against the SDF, which it considers a terrorist entity. On several occasions, these attacks have endangered the lives of US forces, forcing the US military to shoot down a Turkish drone.
Erdogan sought a Greek-Turkish war and caused problems in the Eastern Mediterranean
Between 2019 and 2022, Erdogan openly undermined the safety and security of the eastern Mediterranean by threatening to invade NATO ally Greece and annex part of EU-member Cyprus over disputed territorial sea claims, especially in relation to gas drilling rights.
Erdogan supports terrorism
While Erdogan's belligerent stance in the region appears to have calmed down in 2023, it has been replaced by Turkey's continued support for terrorism.
Following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks that killed more than 1,200 people in Israel, Ankara's shameful support for the US-designated terrorist entity has come under increased scrutiny.
While Israel may not be a member of NATO, most of its members have been quick to offer their support to the country in its darkest hour.
Erdogan, however, described Hamas as a group of "mujahideen" freedom fighters and actively provides the organisation with diplomatic, financial and military support.
If Ankara were to apply for NATO membership today, it would not be considered, let alone approved.
Changing the rules of NATO membership
The only reason it should be tolerated is due to the fact that there is no mechanism for removing a member once it joins.
One could be forgiven for thinking that this is an obvious design flaw that should not exist.
They would be right, except for the fact that NATO was designed to prevent the threat posed by the Soviet Union.
The architects of the alliance probably never thought that one day, NATO would have to strategize against a threat posed by one of its members.
Changing the rules of engagement may be difficult, but this is an opportune time to begin such a discussion, given the numerous challenges facing the Western Hemisphere.
At the very least, NATO members should remain united and agree not to sell Ankara defence capabilities, such as fighter jets, as long as it retains Russian weapons that could degrade collective defence.
For the Biden administration and the State Department, which are backing down from losing Turkey, the time has come for Erdogan to read the riot act.
Either you are a NATO ally who accepts our shared values or you are not. Decide.
From the above we can see that the US is giving Erdogan an ultimatum to change his stance if he wants Turkey to remain in NATO. There is a way to expel him.