Monday, July 24, 2017

As Turkey and NATO Drift Apart, Russia, China, and Iran Stand to Gain

by Marc C. Johnson

NATIONAL REVIEW - July 19, 2017 

In Ankara, Recep Erdogan could position himself as a leader willing to stand up to Western powers. On paper at least, NATO is looking pretty healthy. From Tallinn on the Baltic to Dubrovnik on the Adriatic, Churchill’s Iron Curtain has more or less ascended from Eastern Europe, in no small part owing to the NATO expansion process begun after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But if policymakers have confidence about the political stability and martial resolve of the former Warsaw Pact states, they are also disquieted by developments on NATO’s southern flank. Turkey, long a bulwark against Soviet (later Russian) adventurism, has started to look wobbly. Most of the concern within NATO’s leadership and in the halls of its member states’ parliaments can be traced back to one man: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014 and since then its president.