Turkey’s Islamist leader uses NATO to gain carte blanche and punish US allies

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Recip Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s authoritarian Islamist leader, is increasingly using NATO to leverage his own national interests at the organization’s expense. Over the past few weeks, he has honed his swordsmanship by preventing Sweden and Finland from joining the organization, and is now preparing to invade northern Syria where the Kurds, a US partner in the fight against the ‘EI, are in his line of sight.

Professor Ofra Bengio, a Turkey specialist and senior research associate at Tel Aviv University, told Fox News Digital: “The time is right for him. [Erdogan] “create a buffer zone” in Syria because “Russia is involved in Ukraine and it [Moscow] needs Turkey because it could veto the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO. She added that now is the time for Erdogan to cut out Syria because “the United States is not engaged in the region.”

In 2019, Sweden and Finland banned arms sales to Turkey after Erdogan launched an offensive in Syria to fight the People’s Defense Units better known as the YPG. Turkey, a member of NATO, can block the candidacies of the two Nordic countries because the alliance requires the unanimity of its 30 members for the admission of new countries.

NATO summit at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021.”/>

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan holds a press conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021.
(Reuters/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo)

ERDOGAN IN TURKEY: SWEDEN AND FINLAND JOINING NATO POSE ‘RISKS’ FOR ‘THE FUTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION’

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the urgency of securing membership for Finland and Sweden during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Blinken told reporters he was in close contact with Erdogan on the matter.

Critics say Turkey’s disruption of a NATO expansion plays into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy to weaken the military alliance that seeks to counter his invasion of Ukraine and bolster belligerence through Europe.

MOSCOW, <a class=RUSSIA – MARCH 05: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during their talks at the Kremlin on March 5, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. Erdogan is on a one-day visit to Russia to discuss the war conflict in Syria. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)”/>

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – MARCH 05: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during their talks at the Kremlin on March 5, 2020 in Moscow, Russia. Erdogan is on a one-day visit to Russia to discuss the war conflict in Syria. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

ERDOGAN IN TURKEY ACCUSES SWEDEN AND FINLAND OF SUPPORTING TERRORISM AGAINST POTENTIAL NATO ASPIRATIONS

Erdogan recently spoke with the Russian leader and offered Turkey a role in an “observation mechanism” to end the war with Ukraine. Russia’s foreign minister is expected to travel to Ankara on Wednesday to meet his Turkish counterpart for talks

And it’s not just Finland and Sweden, as if to prove a point, Erdogan opened a second new front with NATO last week when he ended talks with NATO member Greece , over Ankara’s complaint of alleged airspace violations.

Its latest fight with NATO has spilled over into Syria and is affecting vital US interests. Erdogan has long expressed a desire to eliminate the US-allied Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria and establish a region largely populated by Arabs.

“We are entering a new phase of our desire to create a 30 km course [18.6-mile] deep security zone along our southern border. We will rid Tel Rifaat and Manbij of terrorists, and we will do the same for other regions little by little,” the Turkish President recently declared.

Erdogan’s latest wave of jingoism has raised alarm bells in Washington because the YPG – a military force made up mostly of Syrian Kurds – has played a pivotal role in helping the US military defeat ISIS.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upon his arrival for a NATO summit at <a class=NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday June 14. “/>

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan upon his arrival for a NATO summit at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday June 14.
(AP/Kenzo Tribouillard)

SWEDEN, FINLAND NATO BID: OFFICIALS TRAVEL TO TURKEY TO OVERCOME OBJECTIONS

Blinken recently clarified the administration’s thinking on such an escalation in northern Syria and said the United States was against any Turkish incursion, and warned it could undermine regional stability and provide an opportunity for terrorist groups.

“We continue, indeed, to fight through partners towards Daesh, against the Islamic State in Syria, and we do not want to see anything that compromises the efforts that are made to continue to maintain the Islamic State in the box we put it in,” Blinken said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses ruling party deputies in parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Erdogan threatened on Wednesday to launch a new military operation in northern Syria if Kurdish militants are not being evacuated from areas along its border with Syria.  He also said a Russian airstrike that targeted Turkish-backed Syrian rebels in Idlib earlier this week was an indication that Moscow was not seeking lasting peace in the region.  (AP Photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses ruling party deputies in parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Erdogan threatened on Wednesday to launch a new military operation in northern Syria if Kurdish militants are not being evacuated from areas along its border with Syria. He also said a Russian airstrike that targeted Turkish-backed Syrian rebels in Idlib earlier this week was an indication that Moscow was not seeking lasting peace in the region. (AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

TURKISH LEADER SAYS US BASES IN GREECE POSE A DIRECT ‘THREAT’ Amid CRISIS WITH ATHENS OVER NATO EXPANSION

In response to a question from Fox News Digital about whether there have been any attacks by Syrian Kurds on its territory, a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson noted in an email that “the terrorist organization PKK/YPG has long and indiscriminately targeted civilians in northern Syria”. and Turkey,” and had committed 1,750 terrorist attacks since the start of 2020, against Syrian and Turkish citizens.

Turkey has been accused of showing great leniency towards the Islamic State in Syria. Expelling the YPG could mean a revival of Islamic State and other jihadist terrorist entities in the region, say military officials familiar with the landscape. Syrian Kurds are deeply concerned by Erdogan’s announcement of an imminent invasion, Fox News Digital has learned.

The Ankara strongman sees the organized Kurdish community as a threat because of his desire to establish an independent state on part of Turkish soil.

LEGISLATIVES WARE OF TURKEY ‘PLAYING DOUBLE GAME’ IN NATO ARMS NEGOTIATIONS

Erdogan laid out his plan for Turkish expansionism in stark terms in 2016.

Erdogan, according to the Istanbul-based newspaper Hurriyet, said: “Caring about Iraq, Syria, Libya, Crimea, Karabakh, Bosnia and other sister regions is both a duty and a right of Turkey. Turkey is not just Turkey. we give it up is the day we give up our independence and our future.”

FILE - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony for his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Ankara, Turkey, May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

FILE – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony for his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in Ankara, Turkey, May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

ERDOGAN DISRUPTS NATO UNITY AMID PUTIN’S THREAT TO EUROPEAN SECURITY

The vast Ottoman Empire has long controlled the Syrian territory that Erdogan aims to conquer.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish analyst and journalist who was formerly based in Ankara, told Fox News Digital: “Turkey will celebrate 100 years of existence [as a republic] in 2023. In pursuit of his dream of a restored Ottoman Empire, Erdogan has publicly claimed parts of northern Syria and Iraq as part of Turkey.

Erdogan’s goal is “neo-Ottoman expansionism”, Bulut said, adding that “Turkey is the tyrant of the region”.

About William Ferguson

Check Also

Erdogan says Republican Senate control would help Turkey’s F-16 buy: Media

Turkey’s efforts to complete its purchase of F-16 jets would be “much easier” if Republicans …