Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Join the forum, it's quick and easy

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.
Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Many Topics Including The Oldest Dinar Community. Copyright © 2006-2020


    What makes a good NATO ally? The Case of Turkey

    Rocky
    Rocky
    Admin Assist
    Admin Assist


    Posts : 273566
    Join date : 2012-12-21

    What makes a good NATO ally? The Case of Turkey Empty What makes a good NATO ally? The Case of Turkey

    Post by Rocky Wed 27 Jul 2016, 6:05 am

    What makes a good NATO ally? The Case of Turkey
    Posted on July 27, 2016 by Evin Cheikosman in Contributors
    What makes a good NATO ally? The Case of Turkey XBarack-Obama-with-Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan-Washington-2014-Photo-Reuters.jpg.pagespeed.ic.aj37SDzlYg
    U.S. President Barack Obama (R) with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 2014. Photo: Reuters

    [size=11]Evin Cheikosman | Ekurd.net[/size]
    INTRODUCTION
    The linchpin of Turkey’s defense and security policy is NATO membership. It joined in 1952 to increase its defense against the Soviet Union, with which it shared a common border, and today, given the recent tensions that have grown between the two, NATO membership is vital more than ever for Turkey. On November 24, 2015 Turkish military shot down a Russian jet that they argue violated Turkish airspace, a decision Russian President Putin described as a ‘stab in the back.’ As a result, Russia forged a military alliance with Turkey’s enemy-the YPG (Peoples Protection Units), augmented military operations in Syria, and some say its aim now is to destabilize the Alliance vis a vis provocation of Ankara by continuously invading Turkish airspace. This incident has been rebuked by NATO diplomats whom fear their own country’s entanglement in a potential Turkish-Russian military confrontation. The repercussions thus have led for some to conclude that Turkey has somehow gone ‘rogue,’ putting it at odds with the United States and straining the efficacy of the Alliance. This goes despite the fact that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made it a point to express solidarity with Turkey after the incident took place and to demonstrate unanimity against Putin’s efforts to drive a wedge into the Alliance. Nevertheless this show of support calls into question how NATO will move forward from these impending issues and furthermore, how NATO manages the type of risky behavior being exhibited by Turkey which in effect is creating the nightmare scenario that the Alliance has been working for sixty-seven years to avoid.

    A country whose geographical location, modernization efforts, and bid to EU (European Union) membership had all warranted Turkey as a strategic NATO ally in 1952, have gradually devalued with then Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan’s ascendance to the Turkish presidency and the onslaught of its engagement in Syria’s civil war. Turkey has since moved away from the principles of the Washington Treaty that it agreed to upon NATO membership, taking an authoritarian turn and prioritizing its own national security interests over the international coalition’s mission to defeat ISIS. For these reasons, debate and skepticism have emerged over Turkey’s negligence of NATO membership conditions- particularly its net contributions to the Alliance and its compliance with the standards of a liberal democracy-particularly in regards to human rights. In addressing these debates, it is important to put Turkey’s current contributions to NATO operations, into perspective with past conflicts- namely the Kosovo War of 1999- to understand the reasons behind Turkey’s willingness or unwillingness to participate in NATO’s military engagements. To that end, the reasons behind Turkey’s dormant role in NATO’s military operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), were very similar to that in regards to the current conflict in Syria. Just as was the case then as it is now, most of the reluctance stems impart from its own domestic issues in regards to its Kurdish minority. For example, one reason why Turkey was hesitant to support the movement of separatism in Kosovo, was because it was fighting a similar movement on its own territory with the Kurds. In fact numerous scholars have made this analogy between Kosovo and Kurdistan, even the former Yugoslav Ambassador in Ankara had referred to Turkey’s fight against the PKK (Kurdish separatist movement) to that in Kosovo. As is the saying, Turkish politics is Kurdish politics; a theme that has continuously taken over Turkey’s foreign policy moves since the reign of Turkey’s founding father, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk. To that end the Kurds will continue to influence the decisions that Turkey makes in the region, which in regards to the war in Syria, has complicated its relationship with NATO- particularly with the United States.
    KOSOVO WAR OF 1999
    Background
    NATO’s intervention in the Kosovo war was, according to an official statement released by the U.S. Department of State on March 26, 1999, for reasons having to do with preventing a humanitarian crisis as well as preserving stability in a critical part of Europe. The official statement titled “U.S. and NATO Objectives and Interests in Kosovo,” had also pointed out a third interest at stake in the Kosovo conflict: maintaining NATO’s credibility; which at the time was crucial to the Alliance’s main objectives in sustaining relevance and power in Europe (U.S. Department of State, 1999). With that said, there are many critics whom argue that NATO’s humanitarian excuse for intervention was in fact used to bypass the UN Security Council, which according to international law and the Charter of the United Nations, clearly prohibits the use of force, with the only exceptions being self-defense and enforcement actions authorized by the UN Security Council (Chesterman, 2003). Others question the actual authenticity of NATO’s preoccupation with averting a humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo when a similar crisis was taking place in Turkey against its Kurdish minority. In fact according to a 1994 Human Rights Watch report, 39,000 people died in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern region, as oppose to the 2,500 ethnic Albanian deaths in Kosovo. Yet neither NATO or the U.S. got involved militarily to support the Kurds in Turkey; but believed it a humanitarian duty to do so in Kosovo. The report stipulates: “[t]wo million Kurds had been displaced during ten years of conflict; 108 villages were depopulated only between May 9 and July 10, 1994, and in the autumn of 1994 some 137 were demolished” (Human Rights Watch, 1994). This leads to a third debate which asserts that NATO’s moral argument for intervention was not for humanitarian reasons at all, rather it was purely based on preserving its own credibility. By intervention, NATO could prove to the world that it was an important organization, key to overcoming the challenges that Europe may face. For whatever reasons, NATO’s Operation Allied Force against FRY was put into action in support of the ethnic Albanians, who were subjected to a violent, ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbia’s authoritarian leader, Slobodan Milosević. To that end, the pretexts for NATO’s three month long bombing campaign: stabilization, peace, and credibility, resemble greatly its motivations in Syria’s war today, and even more so in regards to the role Turkey usurped in both cases.
    Turkey: Kurdish struggle vs. Kosovar-Albanian struggle
    Turkey’s policy towards the conflict in Kosovo was formulated based on its own conflict with its Kurdish minority; particularly with the Kurdish, left-wing militant group-the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). This group launched an armed struggle against the Turkish government in 1984, calling for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. At the time of the Kosovo war, Turkey’s war with the PKK was at its peak. As part of Turkey’s campaign of repression against the Kurds; thousands of villages in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast were destroyed, many Kurds in that area were forced to flee to other parts of the country, and the Turkish government captured and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan- the spine of the Kurdish separatist movement. Thusly, when NATO made the decision to intervene in Yugoslavia in support of the ethnic Albanians whom were essentially launching a similar armed struggle against Serbia as the Kurds were in Turkey, Turkish leaders made it a point to not oppose NATO’s decision but did refrain from total investment and participation. Throughout the duration of the entire conflict, the say-do gap prevalent in Turkey’s international political initiatives today were a recurrent theme in its role then. Turkey condemned the violence in Kosovo and proposed its participation in an international peacekeeping force, but in actuality, it did not take any major initiatives in the international diplomatic arena and furthermore, refrained from displaying any form of diplomatic activism against the repression in Kosovo for fear of getting entangled on the issue of Albanian’s recognition. This goes despite the fact that ethnic Albanians are almost entirely Muslims, and were facing the same forms of persecution from Serbs that Muslims were experiencing in Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995; that war on the other hand aroused scandalized reactions from Turkey and it actually exerted fairly intense diplomatic pressure on the international community to take action. With that said, in the case of Kosovo, Turkish officials exercised extreme cautiousness when making public declarations on the responsibilities in the Kosovo conflict and on the suggested military and diplomatic actions. Indeed, the legal and political nature of the conflict itself was awkward for Turkey, and it could not participate in a NATO mission that essentially supported ethnic Albanian’s movement of separatism when it was fighting a similar movement in its own country. The similarities between the situation in Kosovo and that in southeast Turkey were so obvious that even the then Yugoslavian Ambassador to Ankara, Darko Tanaskovic, declared: “Turkey should understand Belgrade better than any other country, since it was involved in a very similar situation” (Hurriyet Daily News, 1999). This statement was made against the backdrop of Turkey’s decision to deploy ten F-16 aircraft in Ghedi, Italy and permit use of its airbases to NATO. However as far as full participatory military engagement goes, Turkey made sure to distance itself just enough as to appear like it was a full contributor but in reality it was doing the bare minimum to escape widespread criticism from its allies. However it was not able to escape criticism from most leaders of Kosovo whom expressed great disappointment with Turkey’s passive policy and indifference to the numerous overtures by Kosovo officials, namely then Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova and then Kosovo Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi, to be more active in helping to settle Kosovo’s issue. Disappointment impart by Kosovo’s leaders, was shared with the Turkish public as well. According to a statement by Tansu Ciller, the leader of the True Path Party: “I feel ashamed today. I feel ashamed as a Turk. Why are we not in Kosovo? Why is Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, not in Kosovo (Buckley, P 207)?” That being the case, despite the religious aspects of the conflict in Kosovo or the humanitarian crisis enveloping in the country, what took priority on Turkey’s political agenda were its own national interests and deep rooted principles of national unity as well as noninterference.
    WAR IN SYRIA: 2011- PRESENT
    Background
    Now in its fifth year, the uprising against the Assad regime which culminated into the present war in Syria, has transformed the situation into a complex battle featuring deep rooted enmities, religious aspirations, proxy interests, as well as medieval land conquests. Moreover actors whom have remained dormant throughout the Assad regime, as well as neighboring countries which have had negative diplomatic relations with Syria since its founding have all contributed to the multifaceted conflict that is intensifying everyday. The varying dimensions range from battles between Syria’s Sunni majority and the Shiite-Alawite minority, between moderate and extremist Sunnis; between the multiple forces on the ground and the Kurdish pursuit for independence; to proxy wars headlining the regional interests of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Turkey between Russia and Shiite Iran. These overlapping conflicts have facilitated the rise of an even more challenging issue, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which has necessitated the formation of a U.S. led coalition to defeat them. As of August 29, 2015, Turkey joined the U.S. led coalition against the extremist group, allowing U.S. planes to launch air strikes against ISIS from the U.S. air base at Incirlik in Adana. However, as was the case in Kosovo, Turkey-a NATO member with the most capable military power in the MENA region- has refused to take a frontline role in the U.S. coalition, pursuing rather a politically self serving foreign policy agenda that is based greatly on its decades long war with its Kurdish population.
    Turkey’s stance in the matter has thus frustrated some of its NATO allies, namely the United States, whose priority is defeating ISIS rather than ousting Syrian President Assad. Other allies have also expressed frustration noting that as of 2012, NATO allies have been deploying patriot missiles to aid in defending and protecting Turkey’s population and territory as well as to contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along its south-eastern border. Accordingly, the Alliance had agreed in December of that same year, to increase Turkey’s air defense capabilities to minimize the risk of Ankara shooting down another Russian jet while also placating its fears of a spillover from the conflict in Syria. The defense package includes intercepter aircraft, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), radar planes and a naval unit with command ships and frigates with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. This package has the triple objective of defending a NATO ally, contributing to the U.S.-led coalition air campaign against ISIS and also to act as a soft constraint on Ankara (Taylor, 2015). According to Nick Witney, a former head of the European Defense Agency now at the European Council on Foreign Relations: “It’s a face-saving show of allied support for Turkey while trying to get them to behave more intelligently” (Taylor, 2015). NATO’s reaction in the form of a heavily equipped defense package for Turkey is essentially a way of bypassing a revival of the NATO-Russia Council-a consultation forum that the west had suspended in protest of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year. Of imminent priority is deescalation of conflict with Russia, thus by sending this package NATO will be able to manage, in other words, control Turkey’s airspace. Accordingly a NATO source affirmed: “NATO will increasingly take over management of Turkish airspace, so the Turks will have to be mindful of the fact that we will have eyes in the sky that can give a second opinion on any situation” (Taylor, 2015). This tactic is also used by NATO over the Aegean Sea, to limit incidents of this same nature between Greece and Turkey. These decisions are a solid show of NATO’s solidarity and commitment to Turkey; a reciprocation of that commitment impart by Turkey has been a topic of contention. In terms of policy, Turkey’s repression of the Kurds in its southeastern provinces as well as its battle with Kurdish militia in Syria- YPG (Peoples Protection Units), a U.S. ally, has put it at odds with the United States. Indeed the tensions have grown severe with Turkey’s President Erdogan lashing out at the United States back in February, for allowing one of its envoys to U.S. President Obama, to visit a northern Syrian town that is under the control of the YPG, whom Ankara considers terrorists on par with Turkey’s Kurdish militant group: the PKK. The statement went as followed: “[h]ow can we trust you? Is it me that is your partner or is it the terrorists in Kobani” (World Affairs Journal, 2015). The U.S. response was to confirm its recognition of the PKK as a terrorist organization, but also reiterated its partnership with the YPG whom have been the only viable force in Syria that have successfully proven its ability to fight ISIS. As a result, Turkey has been using its position in Syria and role within the international coalition to deter its airstrikes from ISIS towards the YPG, whom Turkey regards as a larger threat than ISIS. A more recent example of the rift in Turkish-U.S. diplomatic relations can be seen in the Nuclear Security Summit that took place in Washington D.C. from March 31 to April 1, 2016. Turkey’s President Erdogan, who had been received by the U.S. President many times in the past, was refused a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Obama, and described by Obama as such:
    Erdogan came into office with a promise of democracy. And Turkey has historically been a country in which deep Islamic faith has lived side by side with modernity and an increasing openness. And that’s the legacy that he should pursue, rather than a strategy that involves repression of information and shutting down democratic debate (Vatandaş, 2016)
    Erdogan perceived the event in D.C. as an opportunity to improve Turkey’s image abroad, however it worsened considerably as his security forces harassed protesters outside Erdogan’s hotel and outside the Brookings Institute, where Erdogan was giving a speech. Erdogan expresses his desire to gain support for his policies and persuade investment in Turkey; but as incidents such as these unfold, it is becoming more difficult for Turkey to make friends with its neighbors. Furthermore, in an effort to gain support as well as influence the foreign policy agendas of its allies, Turkey has been using its hosting of over two million Syrian refugees against the European Union, which has thus far bent to Turkish demands fearing retaliation in the form of Turkey unleashing a mass outpour of its Syrian refugees into Europe. As of March 18, 2016, the twenty-eight EU member countries agreed to pay Ankara roughly $6.8 billion, renew a dialogue over its accession into the EU, along with granting visa free travel to Turkish citizens, in exchange for Turkey to take back all refugees arriving illegally into Greece, in addition to those in Europe. Many organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned the deal, branding it as inhumane and a complete violation of human rights. In a press release published on March 18, 2016 by Amnesty International, it stated:
    [g]uarantees to scrupulously respect international law are incompatible with the touted return to Turkey of all irregular migrants arriving on the Greek islands as of Sunday. Turkey is not a safe country for refugees and migrants, and any return process predicated on its being so will be flawed, illegal and immoral, whatever phantom guarantees precede this pre-declared outcome.
    This has damaged Turkey’s ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy, as well as obstructed the international community’s efforts to resolve the refugee issue and rid Syria of ISIS terrorism. This can be further evidenced in the fact that Turkey and Greece have been unable to properly implement the guidelines agreed to under the Turkey-EU plan, with security officers scrambling to make any symbolic steps towards deterring the quickening inflow of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea into Greece. The situation is worsening with many refugees on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios committing suicide in the face of deportation. Souaob Nouri from Kabul, who is held in the high-security camp in Chios, said: “If they deport us, we will kill ourselves. We will not go back.” As of April 4, 2016 about 202 migrants were forcibly returned to Turkey. (Kingsley, 2016).
    Ankara’s Syria policy has been primarily preoccupied with its own national security interests as well as in suppressing Kurdish nationalism. Reasons have to do with Turkey growing increasingly uncomfortable as the Kurds have been making gains against ISIS as well as controlling greater bouts of land along Turkey’s 511 mile long border with Syria. Ankara fears that these developments will ultimately encourage the fourteen million Kurds of Turkey to seek changes that threaten Turkey’s sovereignty. This is in part why the Turks stood by and watched when ISIS laid siege to the Kurdish-Syrian town of Kobane last year. For Turkey, participating in coalition airstrikes against ISIS and rounding up suspected supporters is a side benefit to the actual goal of disrupting Kurdish plans for independence in Syria and slamming the PKK. If there is any doubt about Turkish motives, Erdogan declared in late June, “We will never allow the establishment of a state in Syria’s north and our south. We will continue our fight in this regard no matter what it costs…They want to complete the operation to change the demographic structure of the region. We will not turn a blind eye to this” (Reuters, 2015). These enveloping issues have put Washington in a conflicting position since it is providing both military and air support for the YPG in its fight against ISIS. However while the U.S. tries to acquiesce Turkey’s worries over growing Kurdish independence while simultaneously maintaining its alliance with its key NATO ally, Turkish haste over the issue has been challenging its relationship with the Alliance as a whole. This goes especially after Turkey’s downing of a Russian Su-24 jet back in November, which has had serious repercussions on Turkey’s role within NATO. To that end, Turkey’s relationship with Russia has grown tense and has thus forced NATO into a troubling situation; thus adding a more challenging dimension to the international coalition’s efforts to renew peace in Syria.
    Turkey, Russia, and NATO
    It has been sixty-three years since a NATO country has shot down a Russian plane; Turkey having done so in November has the potential to draw the Alliance into a much bigger war than that in Syria. Russian President Putin’s response to Turkey’s downing of its jet is as followed: “…the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists… do they want to make NATO serve ISIS?” (The Guardian, 2015). This led to what today we see as an escalation of the incident, Russia has thus far claimed to have evidence that proves Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from territory controlled by ISIS. Russia’s deputy defense minister went on to state: “Turkey is the main consumer of the oil stolen from its rightful owners, Syria and Iraq. According to information we’ve received, the senior political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – are involved in this criminal business” (Al Jazeera, 2015). Meanwhile Russia has intensified airstrikes on the rebels that Turkey is supporting in Syria, has banned Turkish imports, and has made a solid effort of providing air support for Kurdish militia in northern Syria which has infuriated Turkey the most. As the two countries step up military action in Syria in support of opposing sides, edging closer to direct confrontation in Syria’s increasingly internationalized war, NATO members are starting to fear that Turkey will ultimately invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which commits members to collective defense. There is also a sense of alarm amid fears that Russia’s debacle with Turkey is an effort to undermine NATO. A NATO official had even stated: “It seems to us that just like in the Baltics, Russia wants to try and push at NATO’s ability to stand behind all its members (Financial Times, 2015). And while NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg and the U.S. have publicly stood by Turkey’s right to defend its airspace, many NATO members have expressed their reluctance to engage in a war with Russia in support of Turkey. According to a German diplomat in Berlin: “…not everyone is convinced that going to war for Turkey is worth it…we are not going to pay the price for a war started by the Turks” (Der Spiegel, 2015). Such sentiments have grown after numerous accusations impart by Russia, were made against Turkey’s breaching of the Syrian ceasefire that was agreed upon on February 27, 2016. Russian military reported exactly nine violations of the ceasefire and accused Turkey with attacking Kurdish rebels inside Syria, whom-since the Russian jet downing- has provided with complete air and arms support.
    The world is fully aware of Turkey’s biggest weakness, and in a plot of revenge by Russia, it is using that weakness to damage Turkey whose response has thus far indirectly undermined the Alliance. As one Moscow military analyst, Vladislav Shurygin explained: ”[t]hat is Turkey’s Achilles heel…By helping the Kurds, we unsettle Turkey to such a degree that it can think of nothing else.(Der Spiegel, 2016). With Russian backing, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition consisting of the YPG, Sunni Arabs, Yazidis, Turkmen, and Assyrians, are gradually stretching their arm west of the Euphrates River. It has so far taken control of the Menage Air Base, several key villages to the north and west of Aleppo, and is slowly closing in on its long sought goal of uniting the Kurdish majority canton of Afrin in the west with the rest of the Kurdish controlled areas of northern Syria. Most problematic for Turkey is the SDF’s closing in on the town of Azaz located further to the northwest of Aleppo. This town was a key transit route for Turkish aid to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Aleppo and was part of a ‘red line’ that Turkey warned the Kurds to not dare cross. Hence the Turkish government’s escalation of artillery attacks against the SDF, in addition to preparation to launch a ground invasion with the dual objectives of seizing the remaining territory between Afrin and the SDF forces advancing from the east, as well as aiding the besieged FSA in Aleppo. Meanwhile, Russia has expressed its support for Kurdish plans to organize an autonomous state of Rojava (Western Kurdistan). In fact at the personal behest of Russian President Putin, the PYD (Democratic Union Party), a leading Kurdish political organization in northeastern Syria, opened a representative office in Moscow on February 9, 2016 (The Guardian, 2016). Consequently, Russia’s support for Syria’s Kurds has turned Turkey into a ticking bomb and as the issue exacerbates, the threat of Turkey’s conflict with the Kurds within its own country to spill over into Syria, risks reigniting an all out civil war by its Kurdish citizens. To that end, as Russia and Turkey vie for influence in Syria, and promote opposing agendas, concerns within NATO escalate and put to test the capabilities and purpose of the Alliance.
    Russia and Turkey are at risk of an international confrontation that could drag NATO deeper into the conflict in Syria, which could become a critical test case for the military alliance. A test that Russia has been waiting to see NATO fail at, the complexity and volatility of the situation pushes the Alliance to prove to Russia and the world that it does indeed stand behind its member countries in times of crises. A military organization that continues to struggle over whether or not to support one of its members would quickly lose its credibility, which is exactly what Putin wants. However what mostly takes precedent over NATO’s show of solidarity, is avoiding a military confrontation with Russia at all costs. In an effort to do so, NATO has made it exceedingly clear to Ankara that it cannot count on the Alliance’s support should the conflict with Russia escalate as a result of a Turkish attack. Many member countries have expressed their unwillingness, in that regard, and has thus contributed to the uncertainty that surrounds the current situation. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn stated: “NATO cannot allow itself to be pulled into a military escalation with Russia as a result of the recent tensions between Russia and Turkey. (Becker, 2016). Officials in both Berlin and Brussels confirmed that should Turkey be responsible for such escalation, Ankara would not be able to invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty. Thus far Turkey has already invoked Article 4 which grants member states the right to demand consultations whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened. Nevertheless, Article 5 is the article of contention within the Alliance which one German diplomat asserts that there is widespread agreement between the United States and most of the other allies that Turkey would get the cold shoulder if it were to provoke a military confrontation with Russia. However another NATO official explains that: “were the Russians to carry out a retaliatory strike against Turkey, we would have a problem.” In such a case, Turkey would indeed invoke Article 5, and if the Alliance fails to achieve unanimity in providing military backing for Turkey, Putin will succeed in having split the West. Whichever of the two given alternatives is the case, each of the twenty-eight member Alliance has their own policies and approach to Russia. On one side are the countries whom have suffered under Russian dominion: Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They prefer a tough line against Russia and have been expanding their militaries on NATO’s eastern flank with the aid of the United States as a disincentive to Putin. Poland, in particular, has been planning a large maneuver along with the U.S. ahead of the next NATO summit to take place in Warsaw in July. The joint military exercise, Anaconda, will involve 25,000 troops and nineteen other Alliance members. Germany, which leads the group of moderate critics of Moscow, has taken a different approach, remaining exempt from stationing German military to the Baltic countries or to Poland for that matter. The second group is, on the other hand, more pro-Russian, primarily for economic interests. This group includes Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and especially France. Since the Munich Security Conference, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has gloated praise over cooperation with Russia; in response Russian Prime Minister Medvedev stated: “We welcome France’s constructive role” (Becker, 2016). Meanwhile, the United States and Russia are in the throughs of a ceasefire in Syria which Turkey affirmed, has no power of constraint over Ankara and has maintained that it will still continue attacking Syrian Kurdish fighters, and other targets like the YPG. While Turkey maintains a strong hand over what it believes should be defended, members of the Alliance feel the risk of entanglement and contract bound support for an ally that has not necessarily abided by the principles expected of a NATO member, nor has it demonstrated similar bouts of support for NATO in past cases of conflict like the aforementioned case of Kosovo. More specifically, the commitment, which is listed in NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP), to undertake to participate fully in the Alliance consolation and decision making process on political and security issues of concern to the Alliance. This has been a particularly challenging standard for Turkey to abide to as its major strategic goals in the war in Syria have proven to be greatly self serving to its own national security interests, and not to those of NATO. (Becker, 2016).
    THE TWO CONDITIONS FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP
    Background
    NATO promotes an open door policy as far as admitting new members into the Alliance, however there is a specific protocol to which countries wishing to join the Alliance must adopt; this protocol is called the Membership Action Plan (MAP). In the first chapter headlined Political and Economic Issues, the first point made goes as followed:
    [a]spirants would be offered the opportunity to discuss and substantiate their willingness and ability to assume the obligations and commitments under the Washington Treaty and the relevant provisions of the Study on NATO Enlargement. Future members must conform to basic principles embodied in the Washington Treaty such as democracy, individual liberty and other relevant provisions set out in its Preamble.
    The chapter proceeds with a list of expectations of its members ranging from a respect for the rule of law to the expected manner by which a member state should settle ethnic or territorial disputes. Furthermore, aspirants are expected to maintain the effectiveness of the Alliance through the sharing of responsibilities, costs and benefits. These are a few critical obligations that all member states, including and especially Turkey, have to agree and abide to over the course of their membership. The issue, however, is that since the break out of the war in Syria in 2011, and as far back as the war in Kosovo, Turkey has proven unwilling to maintain its security or net commitment to NATO’s Washington Treaty or to the values shared in respects to minorities.
    Security Contribution: Is Turkey a Security Consumer or Provider?
    NATO was established upon the philosophy of collective action and burden sharing, or ‘responsibility-sharing,’ which has been a contentious issue since the formation of the Alliance. The disputes over NATO burden sharing stems from differences in interests and opinions about the goals, costs and benefits of the activities undertaken by the Alliance collectively. Member states are expected to contribute to the Alliance in various ways, the most crucial being deployment of their own armed forces, funded by their individual national budgets. Other commonly conducted activities are paid for out of three different accounts: civil (administrative, communications, security, and non-military costs), military (operational and maintenance costs for international military staff), and NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP) (infrastructure spending aimed at improving the organization’s anti-terrorism and crisis control capabilities). The countries percentage shares to each of these accounts are determined upon negotiation and are based on per capita gross national income, in addition to other contributing factors. To that end, as of 2011, the largest contributors to NATO are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. This holds true also in terms of the Alliance’s military budget. After the United States, Germany’s contribution is at 16.6 percent, whereas Turkey is only 1.8 percent (Morgan 2011). According to the budget proposal by the Ministry of Defense submitted to Parliament in December, Turkey’s defense spending as a share of GDP was 1.7 percent in 2015, which will most likely plummet to 1.58 percent in 2016 and continue to decrease into the future (Bozkurt, 2016). Moreover, since Turkey joined the Alliance, it has made a contribution of $340 million to the NATO Infrastructure Fund, in return Turkey has received a share of close to $5.2 billion from the NATO Infrastructure Funds (All About Turkey, 2016). These numbers put into perspective how much NATO values Turkey and just how little in comparison to the Alliance, Turkey gives back. However with Turkish military commitment overseas growing with the onslaught of the conflict in Syria, its contributions have remained the same if not smaller, but its dependence on NATO has grown. Reason being that Turkey is the only NATO member with borders that are in direct threat of ISIS terrorism, as well as it being aware of its limited capacity to respond to Russia on its own. Thus President Erdogan has been relying on its NATO membership more so than ever as a counterbalance, demanding that the Alliance support his country with the appropriate defense equipment as well as support. For example, back in October, Turkey appealed to its NATO allies to sustain missile defenses along its Syrian border, which NATO deployed in January 2013. However the United States and Germany said they would proceed with their plans to withdraw Patriot batteries. This has left only Spain with Patriots, and Spain’s Defense Minister Pedro Morenes had confirmed that Madrid was not willing to act alone in defending Turkey against attacks coming from Syria, much less Russia. Germany on the other hand made it clear that it would go ahead with its plans and withdraw most of its soldiers whom are operating the missiles (Emmot, 2015). Such contradiction with NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg’s statement of defense commitment to Turkey after the downing of the Russian jet and the United States as well as Germany’s withdrawing of patriot missiles from Turkey, thus puts into question NATO’s strategy in this member state. Turkey, as Stoltenberg has reiterated time and again, is without a doubt a strategic member, it has the second largest army after the United States. Moreover as Jamie Chandler, a political scientists at Hunter College in New York City had stated: “Turkey’s membership was pivotal in terms of helping NATO deal with political instability in Eastern Europe, the 1990s Balkan wars, and post- 9/11 activities focused on the Middle East…Turkey’s secular-Islamic government provides NATO [with] a cultural and political bridge into the Arab world, and NATO installations in the country give the organization an efficient means to deal with instability in the region” (Ghosh, 2015). However what is becoming more apparent as the issue in Syria and with Russia evolves, is NATO’s true objectives and priorities which seemingly take precedent over what Turkey could offer the Alliance in the future. The United States continues to maintain its partnership with the YPG despite Turkey condemning it as a terrorist organization on par with the PKK, and other NATO allies like Germany and Spain, for example, have sent many weapons to Kurdish militia in their fight against ISIS. To that end, it could be argued that Turkey’s membership is not as critical as it was upon its accession in the 1900’s, but because of the contributions it does give, it will have yet to be seen as a disadvantageous ally.
    Abiding by principles & values of a liberal democracy: Respect for Minorities
    Through much of the twentieth century the Kurds have endured various acts of cultural persecution and nationalist indoctrination such as mass Kurdish population migrations out of Turkish cities, Kurdish students used to be taught that their culture and language do not have an existence independent of the Turks’, Kurds used to be referred to as “mountain-Turks” who have forgotten their language. In short, the very assertion of Kurdishness or even the existence of a Kurdish people in Turkey was construed as a political crime (Ciment, 1996: 7-8). Even after entering into an era of modernity many violations are being reported: the Turkish army continues to invade Kurdish districts, blow up Kurdish homes, jail Kurds based on their ethnic belonging, torture Kurdish prisoners. As recent as December 2015, President Erdogan has been launching a violent military offensive in the Kurdish dominated southeast of the country after an uneasy ceasefire with the PKK collapsed in July. He has imposed twenty-four hour curfews, attempting to crush militants linked to the PKK. The region is undergoing its second largest migration wave since the 1990s. Thus far two hundred civilians have had to flee the district; in the Diyarbakir province’s Sur district alone, tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes (RT, 2015). It has been argued that the reason for these numerous acts against the Kurds is because Turkish authorities today continue to maintain that cultural autonomy for the Kurds threatens the unity of the Turkish state and is a means by which foreign powers might divide Turkey into its constituent parts, as they did to the Ottoman Empire; in other words the ideologies of the Kemalist regime still live in Turkish foreign and domestic policy today (Ciment, 1996: 8).
    According to the Kemalist ideology, Kurds in Turkey were a symbol of national disunity and separatism- things that were antonymous with Atatürk’s principles of unity and national solidarity. Thus in efforts to suppress subsequent demands by the Kurds for the constitutional recognition of their identity and civil rights, he enacted repressive policies based on a program of “Turkification” in which Kurds were to ultimately assimilate into society as Turks (Yildiz, 2008:13). His efforts to do so came in the form of suppression of non-Turkish culture and expression, abandonment of economic development policies in the Kurdish dominated southeastern Turkey which contributed to extensive illiteracy and poverty amongst Kurds, denial of Kurdish existence-arguing that they were of Turkish origin (Yildiz, 2008: 14). As time wore on, frustration began to erupt amongst the Kurds in Turkey over the repressive policies towards them. This frustration resonated into numerous revolts, and thus Turkey became increasingly active militarily in the Kurdish regions as a means to eliminate the Kurdish identity (Yildiz,2008: 13). This set the passage for a new Turkish constitution in 1982- granting the military power over civilian affairs, a civil state of emergency was declared in southeastern Turkey in 1987 giving way to extreme human rights abuses in the area, and thus motivated the emergence of the PKK in 1984 (Yildiz, 2008: 14). This organization has been the source of much conflict in the southeastern region of Turkey, engaging in constant battle with Turkish militia. Conflict between the two parties has carried out into today’s era and has been one of the reasons that Turkey has had complications in meeting human rights standards for EU accession. However more so an issue is the complications that this conflict has brought to Turkey’s NATO membership status. According to chapter one, section 2b and c of NATO’s MAP, aspirants are expected ‘to demonstrate commitment to the rule of law and human rights; as well as ‘to settle ethnic disputes or external territorial disputes including irredentist claims or internal jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means in accordance with OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) principles and to pursue good neighborly relations’ (NATO). Despite a speech made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at an ambassadorial conference on January 11, 2016, in recognition of these principles, to prioritize human rights and to stay loyal to universal values such as justice; according to Human Rights Watch 2015 World Report:
    The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—elected president in August 2014—are undermining the gains of the past decade with steps that erode human rights and the rule of law in Turkey. In the wake of the mass protests in the summer of 2013 that began in Istanbul and spread to other cities, the government continued a policy of controlling media and the Internet and clamping down on critics.
    The report went onto describe freedom of expression, association, and assembly in Turkey:
    The government’s erosion of media freedom continued. Readiness to limit freedom of expression, restrictive approach to freedom of assembly, and readiness to prosecute demonstrators while tolerating police violence against them, were among features most damaging to Turkey’s democratic credentials and international reputation during the year.
    Amnesty International also released a report for 2015/2016:
    A fragile peace process in place since 2013 between the PKK and the state disintegrated in July. State forces launched attacks on PKK bases in Turkey and northern Iraq, while the PKK launched deadly attacks on police and army targets…Following deadly PKK attacks in September, nationalist mob attacks swept Turkey, mainly targeting Kurds and their property as well as offices of the Kurdish-rooted, left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
    Moreover, in 2014, the European Union Commission had criticized Turkey’s human rights explaining in a delayed annual report on Turkey’s prospects for EU membership, that there have been serious setbacks in the past two years on freedom of expression in the country, that the independence of the judiciary had been undermined and that new laws run against EU standards of democracy (BBC, 2015). The reason for the delayed report, however, is to not provoke President Erdogan into unleashing a larger flow of Syrian refugees in Europe out of spite. EU countries have thus far had more than a million migrants and refugees cross into the region, and as countries struggle to cope with the influx, heads of state like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU officials have met with Turkey to broker a deal to lighten the burden of the refugee crisis in their respective countries. Currently, Turkey is hosting over two million Syrian refugees and since the deal, has stopped about 79,000 migrants at sea from traveling to Europe (The Economist, 2015). The EU is determined to crack down on boat departures from Turkey’s coastline where an average of 2,500 people have made the crossing every day since the deal was made (HRW, 2016). Human Rights Watch has argued that Turkey’s human rights abuses are being overlooked in hopes of securing EU security and interests. Judith Sunderland, acting deputy director for the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch stated: “ EU leaders are in a panic to stop refugee flows before spring, and they seem willing to throw human rights overboard in the process… it is naked self interest and wishful thinking to say Turkey is a safe country of asylum-it is not, and this deal could cause much more harm than good” (HRW, 2016). Accordingly, HRW goes on to point out that Turkey does not meet the two basic conditions for a safe country of asylum: it does not provide effective protection for refugees and has repeatedly pushed asylum seekers back to Syria. Furthermore, Turkey had ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention, but is the only country in the world to apply a geographical limitation so that only Europeans can get refugee status there (HRW, 2016). These events unfold amidst a growing issue that organizations like the European Union and NATO are turning a blind eye to the human rights abuses being committed by Turkey, for the sake of its own institutional interests, security, and credibility. With the numerous reports on Turkey’s human rights abuses circling the globe, not even NATO has come out to condemn these actions. Granted, there are no particular guidelines within NATO’s MAP that specify what responses would be made in the event of a member state no longer abiding by MAP principles, but just as was seen in the case of Kosovo, Turkey’s strategic value to the Alliance outweighs whatever abuses it commits against its own people.
    CONCLUSION
    Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey has undergone significant changes: a movement of secularization to Islamization, major political transitions and varying role shifts on the world stage. Concurrently, many observers have been left wondering about the future of NATO, particularly Turkey’s place in it. These changes and the volatile nature of Turkey’s role in the current conflict in Syria as well as with Russia, have put into question: what makes a good ally and what procedures does the Alliance take in order to keep an ally in check? Turkey is a case in point as its confrontation with Russia has the potential of provoking a war that NATO would have to participate in, as well as its Syria policy which is at odds with the United States’, and its double standard over helping the U.S. led coalition to defeat ISIS but targeting the YPG at the same time. However as much as Turkey has gone astray, in some respects, from both the principles of a liberal democracy as well as from the interests of the Alliance, its position within this organization is much stronger than it appears, and will most likely continue with minimal compromises from the two. With that said, the debate over whether Turkey is a good or bad ally to the Alliance is misplaced; the debate more so lies over whether Turkey is and will continue to be a strategic ally to NATO and vis versa. This, in effect, can be answered vis a vis the two cases aforementioned: Kosovo and Syria. In both cases Turkey had expressed a reluctance to fully participate in NATO operations and its issue with the Kurds has been its ‘achilles heel’- challenging Ankara’s ability to make self-serving policy decisions. Nevertheless, the Alliance has proceeded to stand in solidarity with Turkey and manage its behavior indirectly so as to acquiesce Ankara’s paranoia, while simultaneously maintaining peace, order and security in and around NATO countries. Whether NATO will continue to have the desire to continue turning a blind eye to Turkey’s behavior will soon come into question as Turkey’s increasing concern with building up its regional strategic capacity in the Middle East and Indian Ocean, can potentially force either Turkey or NATO to initiate a parting of ways. On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman visited Turkey in hopes, as is seen by Turkish media, of creating a NATO like military alliance of Islamic Countries to combat terrorism. Thus far their are thirty-nine members and in February and early April their ‘Islamic Force’ has already engaged in military exercises described as the largest ever seen in the Middle East. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both distrustful of the west, want to intensify cooperation with other Islamic countries in the struggle against ISIS, and in the need to work in conjunction with Islamic allies against terrorism. This is a recurring theme between the two new allies and will most likely take precedent at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which is to take place in Istanbul on April 14, 2016. The concerns over Turkey’s future in NATO, and the credibility of the Alliance in that regard will remain as long as the tension between Turkey and the U.S. over Ankara’s somewhat conflicting policies put forward by Turkish President Erdogan persist. The result as such will reveal the next stage of the NATO-Turkey- U.S. relationship with the hopeful resolution to the conflict in Syria, the dissolution of ISIS, and the stabilization of the Middle East. (Barchard, 2016).

    http://ekurd.net/good-nato-ally-case-turkey-2016-07-27

      Current date/time is Fri 12 Jul 2024, 12:01 pm