Our Untenable Alliance with Turkey

As usual, Victor Davis Hanson nails it — this time regarding “our untenable alliance with Turkey”:

Turkey opposes, if not detests, almost every American ally in the region, and befriends almost every U.S. enemy.

There are about 5,000 members of the U.S. military, mostly airmen, stationed at the huge, strategically located air base in Incirlik, Turkey, northwest of the Syrian border.

The American forces at Incirlik are also the custodians of about 50 B61 nuclear bombs. Data on these weapons is classified, but at their maximum yield each is ten times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to Stars and Stripes.

It’s a “Dr. Strangelove” scenario: No one quite knows how the American contingent could manage to secretly remove the deadly nukes from their concrete vaults, bring them out to the tarmac, load them on planes and fly them out safely over Turkish objections.

Turkey in the past has threatened to go nuclear itself should the U.S. ever dare to transfer the lethal arsenal. Apparently, Turkey’s theory is that possession of bombs in one’s territory is nine-tenths of the law of nuclear weapons ownership.

In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which led to a U.S. arms embargo, Turkey shut down all U.S. operations at Incirlik. American forces were expelled for three years — until Washington caved and resumed arms supplies.

In 2016, Turkey cut off power to the base and forbid U.S. flights, fearing that the dissident Turkish generals of a failed coup attempt might use the American facility as a sanctuary.

Under Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become NATO’s only non-democratic nation. It’s also NATO’s only Muslim-majority member. Erdogan has been trying to re-create Turkey as a new Ottoman imperial power. He feels no allegiance to Western-style democracy.

During the Obama administration, Erdogan snubbed the obsequious American attempts to promote Turkey as the cornerstone of America’s Middle East policy. President Trump should remember that and perhaps reconsider his own sometimes appeasing outreach to Erdogan.

Read more: National Review

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