"What Just Happened in Syria?"

Michael J Totten

A couple years ago it was politically correct to criticise reluctance of Europeans to invite Turkey into the European Union. Today, Turkey isn't even "Western" enough to fully fit into NATO. This isn't entirely a change since then; the AKP's Turkey simply isn't "Western", but "Mid-Eastern", and this again isn't about Turkey having its own opinion, but about its opinion being in conflict with common Western opinions.

I can't really claim that their behaviour is non-Western, for it's no more hypocritical or brazen than the behaviour of the U.S. or UK. The Turks just happened to choose different sides in a foreign conflict, showing the same quality of meddling and hypocrisy.

Back in 2009 I wrote a blog post relevant to such a case:

I've got a working hypothesis about how allies and befriended nations should agree on a common security policy if they're not in the same region:

The ally/friend IN THE REGION should have a bonus on his opinion.
His security is much more at stake than the security of a distant ally or friend despite the talk about a 'global village'. His expertise on the region is also likely much better.

This would mean that Poland, Romania and the Baltic NATO members would dominate NATO's Eastern frontier (Russia) security policy.

Turkey would dominate NATO's Near/Middle East-related security policy.
I don't think the meddling in Syria is defence policy in any way; it's great power gaming. Yet if it was defence policy because some civil war party there would justifiably be perceived as a threat*, then Turkey should indeed get a bonus and be the most influential alliance member for the formulation of alliance policy in this case.


*: I know the AKP pretends the Kurds in Syria are a terrorist threat to them and particularly many Americans pretend that Da'esh is a threat to them. I don't think either is justified; in fact, I think both is ridiculous. Da'esh is no threat to Westerners who don't wander into their civil war and Kurds insisting on the right to self-determination is not threat to Turkey because legitimate demands are not threats, they're at most in conflict with interests.

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