Dropping charges against Erdogan’s goons won’t smooth relations with turbulent Turkey

· March 22, 2018  
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Tillerson and Erdogan
Rex Tillerson and President Erdogan of Turkey. U.S. Department of State

The Trump administration has dropped charges against 11 members of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail, after they viciously attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., in May 2017. Now the 11 individuals are free to come back to America with their boss, without a worry in the world about consequences for their actions, which made a mockery of U.S. laws.

The Wall Street Journal reports that charges against seven of the men were dropped the day before now-fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Turkey to meet with Erdogan on February 15, in an effort to “ease tensions” with the aspiring Islamic theocracy. In attempting to accommodate Turkish leaders, Tillerson pointed to U.S. federal prosecutors dropping charges against the security detail, the Journal reported. Charges against another four men were dropped previously.

Erdogan has never apologized for the barbaric behavior of his security detail. The assault was caught on video from multiple angles. At least nine people were injured that day while peacefully protesting outside the Turkish compound in Washington, D.C.

The unprovoked assault did not come as a surprise to observers of Turkey’s internal affairs. What was once a proud secular nation has devolved into an Islamic supremacist state. This has led to skyrocketing anti-American sentiment inside the country. The Erdogan regime continues to be engaged in a widespread crackdown on basic human rights. Over the past couple years, authorities have arrested tens of thousands of journalists, academics, educators, government workers, and anyone else suspected of believing in ideas that do not represent those promoted by the regime.

Since embracing Islamic supremacism as the nation’s core ideology, Turkey has unsurprisingly taken to bolstering Islamic terror groups. Ankara has a strong relationship with Hamas, has supported the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front, and is suspected of financing ISIS operations in the region.

Erdogan has not responded positively to the Tillerson effort to show good faith with respect to the U.S.-Turkey relationship. Instead, he has threatened the United States with an “Ottoman slap.” Additionally, the Erdogan regime has doubled down on its horrific treatment of jailed U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who now faces 35 years in a Turkish prison on unproven charges of having “terror links.”

Turkey continues to carpet-bomb and assault the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria, disrupting the coalition fight against ISIS, given that the Kurdish forces there serve as the most proven fighting force against the jihadi terror group. ISIS has used the opportunity provided by Turkey to rebuild its forces in the region, according to the Pentagon.

Moreover, Turkey continues to shift its foreign relations priorities away from its alliance with the United States and toward Iran and Russia, which are committed adversaries to the U.S. and NATO (of which Turkey is a member).

President Trump spoke on the phone Thursday with Erdogan, according to Turkish media, which reported that they discussed bilateral and regional issues. At some point, the president should consider changing the U.S. approach to Ankara. A soft diplomatic touch simply hasn’t produced results. At every turn, Turkey has threatened and made a mockery of the United States. Perhaps it’s time to pursue more aggressive measures, such as finding a way to remove the country from the NATO alliance, and consider departing the U.S. base in Turkey, an economic boon to the country, for elsewhere in the region.


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Author: Jordan Schachtel

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review and editor of The Dossier for CRTV. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.