Feb 13 2018

Turkey is out of control – ex-U.S. envoy, Clinton adviser

Turkey is out of control, a former U.S. ambassador to Ankara said.

With a real danger of a clash between U.S. and Turkish forces in Syria, it’s time for the U.S. to say so, Eric Edelman said in an op-ed for Politico with Jake Sullivan, a former foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton.

“At the very least, sanctions targeting the Turkish defense industry, financial sector and potentially officials tied to corruption—already warranted by Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missiles and involvement in Iranian sanctions evasion—should be on the table,” they wrote.

A U.S. deterrent posture is needed because relations are already under strain from Erdoğan’s deepening authoritarianism, flirtation with Russia and conflicting interests in Syria, they said.

“A clear U.S. statement that this would be intolerable, backed by an effective deterrent posture, is necessary to prevent outright U.S.-Turkish hostilities and preserve any hope of a functional relationship going forward,” they said.

Instead, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is convinced that the United States sees its relationship with Turkey as too important to fail, increasing his appetite for risk. Unfortunately, Washington has treated Turkey gingerly thus far, and is sending mixed messages.

"The current administration’s inability to communicate U.S. positions clearly makes matters worse," they said. "Washington needs to clearly and explicitly spell out the consequences that will result if Turkey attacks positions where U.S. troops are embedded."