Stop playing chicken with Turkey

Turkey on the world map.

Turkey on the world map.

Atticus Bolyard, Staff Reporter

When Vladimir Putin facilitated a full-scale proxy invasion of Ukraine last spring, the media was outraged. Calls for the US and EU to institute trade embargos, end military cooperation with Russia, and put diplomatic pressure on the Kremlin were ratcheted up to levels not seen since the cold war.

Obama was fully behind increased pressure on Russia, which may have made Putin understandably confused. The US has a history of ignoring autocratic international aggression in Eastern Europe.

Turkey, America’s supposed ally just to the south of Ukraine, has been a major source of oppression and instability for too long. Let’s ignore the egregious human rights violations, censorship, and government leader obsessed with consolidating his own power (Sound familiar, Putin?). Turkey, a country with a history of imperialism, is hell-bent on extending its own influence, by force if necessary.

Erdogan maintains 40,000 soldiers in the illegally occupied Republic of Northern Cyprus, where he also supports a de-facto government built specifically to prevent Turkish-Cypriots from having any influence over their own country’s politics.

The eastern-most NATO member has also continued targeted attacks and persecution of Kurdish nationalists within its borders- ironic for a country founded on the principle of self-determination. And we shouldn’t forget Turkey’s not-so-subtle support of radical Sunni jihadist movements, which seems antithetical to Ataturk’s secular values.

It is time to rethink the alliance. The EU and US should send a clear and consistent message that authoritarian war making has no place in the 21st century.

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