The United States decided on Sunday to suspend the issuing of visas to Turkish citizens at U.S. diplomatic missions (which Turkey immediately reciprocated) after the Turkish government arrested multiple staffers of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
Without notifying U.S. authorities, the Turkish government arrested Metin Topuz, a Turkish national who has been working at the U.S. consulate for over three decades. The questionable charges against him include conspiring with members of the international Gulen movement to allegedly overthrow the government.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for years sought the extradition of the leader of the Gulen movement, Fethullah Gulen (a chief rival of Erdogan’s), who lives in Pennsylvania.
Furious with the U.S. response to his country’s extrajudicial action, Erdogan declared Tuesday that he does not recognize the authority of the sitting U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) October 10, 2017
But that’s just the latest episode in the troubled Turkish-American relationship. As guests, Turkish officials and security show little to no respect for American laws and sovereignty.
Things really got out of hand in May, when Erdogan’s bodyguards violently attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., as they were demonstrating against Erdogan’s policies and the government in Ankara.
That wasn’t the first time that the president’s detail showed complete disregard for American laws. They’ve used thuggish tactics several times to shut down peaceful protests, doing so as recently as late September outside of the United Nations in New York City.
— SCF (@StockholmCF) September 9, 2017
In Turkey, the once-secular state continues to trend toward a full embrace of Islamic authoritarianism.
There’s not much left of the republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. An April referendum gave Erdogan virtually unchecked power, stripping away at the country’s foundational checks and balances and ridding the nation of basic human rights protections.
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Ever since the alleged Gulen-led coup last year, Erdogan has swooped up dictatorial levels of power, ordering the imprisonment of tens of thousands of academics, religious minorities, activists, journalists, students, and others viewed as potential threats to his blossoming tyranny.
Instead of reinvigorating relations with its NATO allies, Turkey has embraced the countries that seek to bring down the West.
It has partnered with Iran and Iraq to bully the Kurds into submission, coordinating military action with the theocratic regime in Tehran to strip away the possibility of a new free state in the Middle East. Ankara has also rapidly increased military cooperation with Russia, a principal adversary of NATO.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 10, 2017
Their continuing anti-U.S. actions and rhetoric are impossible to ignore. Before engaging in a coming Syria operation, Turkish special forces were seen on camera taunting the American military, chanting in Turkish, “Wait for us, American Johnny’s, we are coming to get you.”
— Ahmet S. Yayla (@ahmetsyayla) October 8, 2017
As a member of NATO, Turkey has special access to highly sensitive information regarding the enemies of the West. Turkey has already abused this privilege, threatening in July to spill classified positions of U.S. special forces operating in the Middle East.
At what time do NATO members declare that enough is enough, and boot the Islamic authoritarian menace out of the alliance for good?
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.
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