Erdogan needs to be kept on as tight of a leash as possible…
Crafting a US Response to Turkish Intransigence
by Gregg Roman
March 7, 2018
Originally published under the title, “Navigating the U.S. Collision Course with Turkey.”
|Erdoğan has been repositioning Turkey as an adversary of the United States for years.|
In a rare public policy speech in mid-December, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster singled out Turkey as one of the two leading state sponsors (alongside Qatar) of “radical Islamist ideology.” The Turkish government protested the statement as “astonishing, baseless and unacceptable,” which means it was a pretty good start. McMaster’s speech highlighted an emerging recognition among Trump administration officials that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey poses a pernicious threat to US interests in the Near East.
While wishful thinkers still hold out hope that U.S.-Turkish relations are strained by short-term concerns and eventually will rebound, a growing chorus of voices led by Daniel Pipes contends that “Erdoğan’s hostile dictatorship” has passed the point of no return and cannot be reconciled with American interests and values. Erdoğan’s increasingly brutal methods of governance, particularly since a July 2016 failed coup against his regime, is wholly unbecoming of a NATO ally. In late December, he issued an emergency decree that effectively legalizes politically-motivated lynching.
Why does the United States continue to allow Erdoğan’s malign behavior in the region? And, more importantly, what should policymakers do about it?
For Washington, it is time both to up the ante in seeking a course correction from Erdoğan and to prepare for the worst. This path forward should be guided by the following basic principles.