Time to unite in saying “oxi” (“No”) to Erdoğan’s aggression
Failure to reign in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is destroying the credibility of peace and freedom loving nations, the European Union, NATO alliance and, in particular, the United States. Erdoğan’s hostile acts embody and represent the types of threats the alliance and United States are committed to deterring and defeating.
From the desecration of Christian UNESCO World Heritage sites in the conversion of the Haghia Sofia and thousand-year-old Byzantine Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora into mosques, to support for the human trafficking of migrants into Europe; violent attacks and oppression of Kurds in Turkey and Syria; diplomatic security force attacks on U.S. citizens in Washington, DC, support for Islamic terrorists and militias in Syria, northern Iraq and Libya; violations of EU air space and territorial waters; illegal exploration of oil and gas in the exclusive economic zones of Greece, Cyprus and Israel; illegal claims of sovereignty in the eastern Mediterranean; purchase of advanced S-400 Russian weapons systems; imprisonment of political opponents and journalists; enduring illegal military occupation of the northern part of EU member, Cyprus; and support for Azerbaijan’s current genocidal attack on Armenian Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Erdoğan’s Turkey poses the greatest threat to Western civilization, peace and stability since the rise of communism and the expansionist aims of the Soviet Empire during the Cold War.
It’s time for the EU, NATO, U.S., and our partners to reign in Erdoğan and his destabilising acts that threaten peace and stability from Europe to the Balkans, to North Africa, to the eastern Mediterranean, to the Middle East and to Central Asia.
The U.S. Congress’ passing of “The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019,” recently signed into law, is a notable step in the right direction in affirming the important strategic partnership between Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The legislation, however, lacks the authorisation to allocate the resources required to effectively empower this strategic partnership. The urgency to transform this bill into a meaningful joint U.S. and European effort of the scale needed to enable Greece and Cyprus to upgrade their military forces, coast guards, border protection forces and procure the technologies and systems needed to protect Europe’s borders, security, energy security, economic interests and freedom has never been greater.
Turkey’s destabilising actions must be addressed decisively and immediately with meaningful actions, not just words. Erdoğan’s Turkey has shamelessly become a terrorist sympathising adversary posing as an ally. France’s recent recall of its ambassador in Ankara due to Erdoğan’s condemnation of France’s crackdown on radical Islam following the public beheading of a French school teacher in France is the boldest move by an EU nation to date, but meaningless with France acting alone.
It’s time for bolder action. It’s time to initiate a joint effort to reign in Turkey with coordinated continuous EU, U.S., and Partner Nation “Freedom of Navigation” air and maritime operations to remind Turkey, as is customary to remind an adversary, where its borders end and responsibilities as an international law-abiding nation-state begins.
(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced with permission. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.)