The erratic behavior of Turkey’s leader calls for a decisive response.
In the past twenty-four hours, Turkey’s increasingly unhinged Islamist leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has taken the following actions and made the following pronouncements;
- Recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Israel;
- Expelled Israel’s ambassador to Ankara, Eitan Na’eh and then attempted to humiliate him at the airport by subjecting him to intrusive scrutiny;
- Expelled Israel’s consul general in Istanbul, Yossi Levi Sfari;
- Hosted the rabidly anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic fringe group known as Neturei Karta and pronounced them to be “representatives of the Jewish community.” The Neturei Karta is a reviled, marginal cult numbering no more than perhaps 1,500-2,000 members worldwide. They are infamously known for their shamefully submissive and obsequious conduct before the enemy.
- Voiced support for Hamas, a terrorist organization recognized as such by most of the world’s civilized community;
- Referred to Israel as a “terrorist state,” and;
- Called upon the Muslim world to unite against Israel and downgrade ties.
I recently noted 12 reasons why Turkey should be expelled from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forthwith. I can now come up with a half-dozen more. Turkey under Erdoğan has transformed itself into the Sunni version of Iran. It is expansionist, having invaded two of its neighbors within the past two years; has little regard for human rights, little regard for press freedoms, treats the judiciary (which has been stacked with Erdoğan shills) as a tool of oppression and routinely snatches and detains foreign nationals on contrived charges for future bargaining positions.
But expelling Turkey from NATO is insufficient. The United States (I expect little from our craven NATO allies) can and must do more to punish Turkey for its outrageous, pariah-like conduct. First, working with Congress, President Trump should formally recognize the historic tragedy of the Armenian genocide, the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians. The Turkish government has routinely denied its role in committing this genocide, disputing the numbers killed and perniciously claiming that those who were murdered or starved to death were simply casualties of war. Turkey must acknowledge its sole responsibility, and formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide would provide the Turks with the necessary jolt.