Writing for Cato at Liberty, Ted Galen Carpenter urges U.S. leaders to cut close ties with Turkey, a U.S. ally and NATO partner that is becoming increasingly unsavory as it transitions ever closer to authoritarianism.
In the aftermath of the recent failed coup in Turkey, NATO leaders were relieved to avoid an alliance with a military dictatorship. However, the lightning purge of military leaders, judges, and schoolteachers that followed showed Turkey’s authoritarian colors. Carpenter argues that the speed of the purge indicates it was likely a plan lying in wait.
For Carpenter, “the United States now confronts the problem of a NATO ally that is a dictatorship in all but name.” Furthermore, he asserts that it is in times of “great peril,” like World War II, when it may be “necessary to make common cause with even sleazy allies.”
But the United States, despite its many interventions abroad, does not currently face an existential threat. As Carpenter observes, “the primary justification for retaining a close security relationship is Ankara’s relevance in sustaining Washington’s hyper-interventionist policy in the Middle East.” By Carpenter’s estimation, this policy has failed, and he recommends that Washington repudiate its pledge of mutual assistance to Turkey.
Carpenter’s conclusion is that it is unconscionable to incur the risk of war “to defend a thinly disguised dictatorship that is not essential to America’s security.”