The first-ever online annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) which began Wednesday has focused on countering China’s global ambitions. But, cornering Turkey – and a new brutal form of terrorism which has emerged in the Islamic State group – is also being heatedly debated by the trans-Atlantic allies. The pressure on the rogue and expansionist regime led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from all quarters is indeed mounting. The European Union’s stern warnings of sanctions are being complemented by an emerging strategic front in the neighbouring Middle East to tame aggressive behavior of the self-acclaimed uncrowned ‘Sultan’ of a fictitious neo-Ottoman empire.
“The allies cannot cooperate with jihadist groups. They cannot test S-400. These practices undermine NATO’s values and undermine NATO’s solidarity, cohesion, unity and effectiveness as a political and military organization, while undermining the Alliance’s own goals and defense interests,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his opening statement at the beginning of the six-day session.
“NATO’s success lies in collective solidarity. Our alliance not only strengthens America’s strength, but also secures Europe’s defense. Greece itself has accepted security challenges, which in fact undermine NATO unity. In 2020, this unit was tested very seriously, due to the Turkish challenges and unilateral actions,” added Mitsotakis while referring to the Turkish provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In his bid to revive the Ottoman Empire and form a Greater Turkey, which includes northern Greece and eastern Aegean islands, Erdogan continues to make dangerous moves in waters of the region, repeatedly ignoring warnings of a ‘catastrophic’ disaster.
That isn’t all, Erdogan’s meeting with Islamist militant groups like Palestine’s Hamas – designated as a terrorist organization in the US, Europe and several other countries – and the current anti-French rhetoric has put a big question mark over Turkey’s future in the 30-nation Alliance.
What’s more, Turkey’s involvement in the entire Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has raised a new battalion of Erdogan haters, involving not just nations but also individuals ranging from reality star Kim Kardashian West to NFL coach Bill Belichick who are urging the US to take action against Turkey.
France and Germany are at the forefront of a push back against Erdogan. In a joint opinion piece titled ‘Joe Biden can make transatlantic unity possible’ written for the Washington Post earlier this week, French minister of foreign affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and his German counterpart Heiko Maas said that Turkey’s “problematic behavior” in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond has to be addressed quickly and Europe and the US should work together to “fight terrorism and radicalization” that threaten security and societies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Maas warned Erdogan again Thursday saying that Ankara has to stop making provocative moves in Mediterranean waters if it wants no new sanction discussions at the EU summit in December.
“It is up to Turkey what decision will be taken at the EU summit in December. If we see no positive signals coming from Turkey by December, only further provocations such as Erdogan’s visit to North Cyprus, then we are heading for a difficult debate,” Maas was quoted as saying by Reuters ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, MPs from three of the four coalition parties want foreign minister Stef Blok to put pressure on Europe to establish a weapons embargo against NATO coalition partner Turkey for its involvement in violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“If (Turkish president Recep Tayyip) Erdogan encourages military conflict rather than stability, we have to be clear: no more weapons should be sent to Turkey as long as this continues,” said Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a member of parliament, according to Dutch News.
In the rapidly changing geopolitical scenario, a joint statement from Greece and the United Arab Emirates Wednesday has further isolated Turkey. After meeting the Crown Prince of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, Mitsotakis announced the signing of a new strategic alliance between the two nations. It didn’t end there, the joint statement which followed condemned the Turkish aggression against Greece, Cyprus and the entire Middle East.
“The two governments condemn Turkey’s violation of the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Cyprus, as well as its overall aggressive behavior in the Middle East, the Southeastern Mediterranean and the South Caucasus, in flagrant violation of the International while recalling the obligation of all states to refrain from the threat or use of force as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations,” said the joint statement.
So, will all this serve as another wake-up call for Erdogan? The future, much like the recent past, doesn’t look very bright. So far, a sinking economy, sliding Lira, global condemnation of its expansionist moves and ideology, diminishing friends has failed to bring Turkey back to the right path.
As senior journalist Amir Taheri wrote in Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat earlier this month: “Erdogan is now masquerading as a ‘ghazi’ (holy warrior) and designating anyone who dares challenge his policies as an ‘enemy’ of the only true faith. By promoting a strategic break with Europe, Erdogan is leading Turkey into the unknown, with demons whispering in his ears.”