Jan 24 2018

Syria shows U.S. should consider ending Turkish alliance - analyst

The United States should consider whether to end its decades-long alliance with Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered his troops to attack the very force that helped defeat Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, according to Noah Feldman, a senior fellow at Harvard.

Writing for Bloomberg View, Feldman said Turkey’s actions were all the worse because they were coordinated with Iran and Russia, the very countries the NATO alliance exists to oppose.

“The U.S. needs to start imagining NATO without Turkey,” he said. “U.S. interests appear nowhere in the equation. That’s a long-term strategic problem, which goes beyond the moral outrage every American should feel as our Kurdish allies are murdered from the air by F-16s we sold to Turkey.”

Erdoğan believes he can flout U.S. interests without consequence, as demonstrated in Washington D.C. last year when he ordered his security detail to attack protesters in a public park, treating the city like his own “fiefdom”. The Turkish leader uses his country’s geographical location as an insurance policy, but there must be some limit to his behaviour, Feldman said.

“It would be nice to look beyond Erdoğan to a future Turkish government that better appreciates its relationship with the U.S. But given Erdoğan’s increasingly autocratic rule, that can’t be counted on in the foreseeable future.

“The hypocrisy is particularly horrible” when Washington permits a NATO ally to destroy the very people who were instrumental in defeating ISIS, he said.

“All alliances have their natural end. Unless Erdoğan stops spitting in Trump’s face, the U.S.-Turkey alliance is heading for its expiration date,” he said.