Turkey has long since abandoned the West. Its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has aligned his country with an axis of powers openly hostile to Western interests: China, Russia and Iran. This is his prerogative as a popular, elected leader.
But Erdogan also craves the protection of the West’s military partnerships and membership in its economic associations. He wants Turkey to remain within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization even as he buys weapons systems that undermine the alliance’s security and hurls insults at heads of member states. And he seeks “mutual trust” with the European Union even as he threatens to flood it with millions of migrants.
The West should respond by demonstrating that its tolerance for Turkish truculence is at an end. The best forum to do so is NATO, where patience for Erdogan is already wearing thin. The alliance’s first summit since President Joe Biden’s swearing-in takes place next week, and he is scheduled to meet Erdogan on June 14.
Erdogan has deployed especially bellicose oratory against the U.S. Such hostility was met with amused tolerance by President Donald Trump, who showed little interest in American leadership. Now that Biden has said he will resume that responsibility, he should make it clear to Erdogan that Turkey can’t have it both ways.
Biden has had plenty of opportunities to size Erdogan up over the years, and he has clearly concluded that the Turkish leader is an autocrat. Turkey, he has said, has “got to understand that we’re not going to continue to play with them the way we have”.
Read more: Bloomberg