Turkey should be good NATO member or face more sanctions - analysts

Turkey should stop drifting away from NATO and become a member of good standing or face additional sanctions by the United States, said Bradley Bowman and Aykan Erdemir of the Washington D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Turkey used to be a pro-Western bulwark on NATO’s south eastern flank, but under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan it has drifted towards Russia, and increasingly undermined regional stability and the interests of both the United States and NATO, Bowman and Erdemir said in an analysis on Wednesday.

Sanctions imposed on the country by the United States on Monday have targeted the nation’s defence procurement agency, the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB). President Donald Trump approved the measures under congressional pressure after Erdoğan acquired S-400 air defence missiles from Russia last year and began testing them.

“One hopes that the sanctions will encourage Ankara to reconsider its current course and once again become a NATO member in good standing,” Bowman and Erdemir said. “If not, Washington should take additional steps to raise the costs of Erdoğan’s actions.”

Turkey’s purchase of the Russian missiles is part of a larger troubling trend, they said.

Ankara has also engaged in “gunboat diplomacy to challenge maritime borders, proxy warfare in Libya, weaponisation of migrants, (and) patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas”, Bowman and Erdemir said.

The imposition of sanctions on Turkey “sends a clear signal that the United States will fully implement CAATSA” and “will not tolerate significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors”, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

Bowman and Erdemir said the decision was likely to spark widespread attention in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and India, who are considering or procuring the S-400.