There is something incompatible when it comes to Western values and an Islamic theocracy; that should be obvious but unfortunately it is not to many.
Sharia law, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to ultimately install in Turkey, doesn’t jive with the rule of law, free markets, capitalism, and individual rights.
I have watched with fascination the decline and fall of the legacy of Kemal Ataturk within the Turkish political system. Most millennials, not being really taught history in college, in deference to social justice education, for sure have never heard of Kemal Ataturk.
Simply put, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the subsequent reduction in Islamic aggression, Ataturk put Turkey on the path to secular Westernization and the capitalist goodies that come with it.
This legacy is what allowed Turkey to even be considered for accession into the European Union, and become the southern flank of the NATO alliance. For decades, this Turkish trajectory was safeguarded by the military, which intervened when the Jihadist, Islamist scourge raised its ugly head.
Mr. Erdogan has destroyed that Turkey. It no longer exists.
The new Turkish strongman has systematically taken apart this society and system of governance which pulled Turkey into the twentieth century, and is busy taking the country back to the nineteenth.
Mr. Erdogan found a way to marginalize, imprison, and destroy the military firewall that protected Turkey’s modernization in the remaining 50 years of the last millennium.
The results have been disastrous. All you have to do is look at the financial and political situation in Turkey to see that. It seems where countries have the natural tendency to turn into aggressive, religious regimes, special political systems are indeed needed.
The currency is in free fall, only recently supported by $15 billion from Qatar, but this will not be enough. The markets can sense that the government is attempting to “manage” the economy, an agenda that will not work.
Yes, President Trump’s tariffs over a Christian pastor being imprisoned by the Islamist regime have been the spark, but the conditions of mismanagement and corruption were sown by Mr. Erdogan a long time ago.
I am overjoyed Mr. Trump is standing up for Christianity in that part of the world, but that is for another column altogether.
Now, let’s get to the main point: Turkey is not an ally. Turkey has not been an ally of the West for a long time. Turkey is a corrupt, Islamist regime that cannot be trusted to defend the alliance, at least not until there is a leadership and political change in-country.
There is plenty of proof. Turkey’s cozy relationship with the Kremlin for one. If you scream “Trump has a cozy relationship with the Kremlin” right now, I won’t take you seriously because you are willfully ignoring the steps this White House has taken to confront Russia. Again, that is for another column.
Turkey and Russia have an intertwined economic relationship. That is all fine and dandy. However, the bromance is turning a military relationship. Turkey is buying Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. Yes, those systems meant to shoot down American and NATO aircraft, from very long distances.
I mean seriously, does it really make sense to buy air defense systems from a possible adversary? That is ridiculous. One would think it would be obvious that the Russian air force would be well aware of how to defeat such a system in a conflict with NATO.
With the new sanctions enacted on Turkey over the pastor imprisonment, Mr. Erdogan is now threatening to find other “military alliances.”
I think it is obvious what he means by this. Vladimir Putin would like nothing more than to split Turkey off from NATO.
I would make the obvious conclusion that this has already happened. Turkey cannot be trusted. They are threatening to arrest American officers at Incirlik for God’s sake. Perhaps Trump is waiting for a possible leadership change as the Turkish economy crumbles, in a bid to save Turkey’s membership in NATO. That may be a good strategy since POTUS has much more information than I do.
However, just an observation from afar, Turkey seems already gone. We might as well admit the truth and prepare accordingly.
• L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, the New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached through his website, LToddWood.com.