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Friday, June 11, 2010

Victor Davis Hanson: Turkey's ambitions are antithetical to its membership in NATO

After reviewing Turkey's efforts to restore the Ottoman Empire, Victor Davis Hanson looks at how the United States should respond to the new Turkey.
Where and how does all this end?

Turkey's new ambitions and ethnic and religious chauvinism are antithetical to its NATO membership. The United States should not be treaty-bound to defend a de facto ally of Iran or Syria, which are both eager to obtain nuclear weapons. European countries foresaw the problem when they denied Turkey membership in the now fragile European Union, fearful that Anatolian Islamists would have unfettered transit across European borders.

In response, the United States should make contingency plans to relocate from its huge Air Force base at Incirlik -- a facility that Turkey has in the past threatened to close. We should brace for new troubles in the Aegean region and Cyprus, as a bankrupt and often anti-American Greece is now alienated from both the United States and northern Europe -- and yet increasingly vulnerable to a return of Ottoman regional ambitions.

Just as the Shah of Iran's pro-Western, secular transformation failed and led to the Ayatollah Khomeini's anti-Western Islamic revolution, we are seeing something similar in Erdogan's efforts to turn Ataturk's Turkey back into the theocratic sultanate that ran the Eastern Mediterranean for more than three centuries.

If Erdogan is intent on a suicidal reinvention of Turkey into a pale imitation of Ottoman hegemony, we can at least take steps to ensure that it will be his mess -- and none of our own.
Hanson hints at an important point. The risk of not reacting properly is that the US ends up with another Iran on its hands - except that this one has a huge American airbase with hundreds of US troops within its borders.

What could go wrong?


At 10:46 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The US could relocate the huge base at Incirlik to Israel. The US would have a strategic forward base to protect its interests in the Middle East.

But the prospects of that happening under Obama are slim to none.

What could go wrong indeed


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