The Ottoman Empire rises again – and Europe, once more, watches in silence

THE FORSCH VIEW

By Thomas Forsch

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has NATO over a barrel while his troops continue the
massacres of the Kurdish people in Northern Syria.

The NATO meeting last week made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

World leaders mocked Donald Trump on camera, who quit the gathering abruptly without a press conference, upset like a child left out of the cool kids’ circle.

But frankly, who cares?

Senseless Trumpmania means key issues are overlooked.

The neo-Ottoman Erdogan may have backed away from blocking NATO’s Baltic and Polish defence plan after private talks with King Trump, but the quarrels with vital European members of the alliance remain.

As does Turkey’s multi-billion dollars arms deal with Russia for the supply of the latter’s S-400 missile system.

Trump has blessed the deal for whatever personal reasons.

His administration is still in dialogue with their Turkish counterparts, trying to convince them to abandon that agreement while the US Senate is considering sanctions against Turkey.

It is disturbing, alarming, and a significant threat to a partner country’s safety when one member of a defence alliance purchases sophisticated weapon systems from the arch-enemy of that very alliance.

NATO is not the only international body that Turkey blatantly disrespects. The country also violates

UN sanctions and delivers Turkish drones, armoured vehicles and other arms to Libya.

The latest sign of Turkish neo-imperialism is the recently signed territorial deal with Libya which violates international law, transgresses Greek and Cypriot areas and puts eastern Mediterranian gas deliveries to Europe in danger.

Turkey continues its genocide against the Kurdish people in Syria, ethnically cleansing the area east of the Turkish border, driving out hundreds of thousands men, women and children, and continuing mass killings in Kurdish villages.

And the world does not seem to take notice.

Africa may have its problems of its own, and the Americas and Oceania may be too far away.

Europe, though, should remember – and has the moral obligation to act.

The Armenian Genocide was a mere 100 years ago.

We are all conscious that the European nations did nothing at the time to aide the millions of Armenians who were killed, raped, displaced or subjected to forced labour by their Ottoman tormentors and slaughterers.

As a matter of fact, the Europeans turned a blind eye.

The EU and its member states must not watch in silence another genocide and ethnic
cleansing, this time of the Kurds in Syria.

Countries like Germany must stop their hypocrisy.

In October, Germany (just like France) announced a stop arms exports to Turkey. Unfortunately, within the first six weeks of the Turkish onslaught in Northern Syria, the German government had approved military equipment sales worth 3.9 million Euro to Turkey.

The UK, France and Germany need to combine forces and stand up to the Turkish strongman at the upcoming 4-way summit in Istanbul this next February.

They also need to observe what will happen on the 8th of January, when Erdogan meets upwith his new buddy-in-arms Putin.

Turkey should remain a NATO ally but has to turn into a reasonable one.

Threatening to release IS fighters into Europe or sending refugees all over the continent is not reasonable or acceptable.

Nor is the violation of UN Sanctions in Libya or the purchase of military
equipment from NATO’s most potent opponent.

And most definitely, mass killings and ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people in Northern Syria is not compatible with European or other civilised countries’ moral and ethical values.

If Turkey continuous its current course of brinkmanship, as a first step, the EU NATO members and the US need to agree and remove all US nuclear arsenal currently stationed on Turkish soil from that country and place it in the territory of a reliable NATO partner.

The EU, the US and the rest of NATO need to make it clear to Turkey that they not only expect from her a clear commitment to the joint military alliance but, more importantly, to the core values of its member countries.

Thomas Forsch is an international lawyer and political theorist.

The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Redaction editorial team.

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