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Turkey and NATO will have to find common ground

Read: 2490     18:29     02 February 2018    
Turkey’s interests are drifting away from those of other members of the NATO alliance, London-based news magazine The Economist said, but both sides must ensure the alliance continues to work.

“The most recent source of tension is the simmering row between Turkey and America over Turkey’s incursion into Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in northwest Syria,” the magazine said.

“This is not, strictly speaking, a matter for NATO. However, American troops could soon find themselves under direct attack from their NATO ally if Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, carries out a promise to ‘strangle… before it is born’ a 30,000-strong American-backed ‘border security force’, composed largely of YPG Kurdish fighters whom Turkey regards as terrorists.”

The purchase of an S-400 missile system from Russia, the traditional adversary of the alliance, is also straining ties.

“The S-400 system cannot be integrated with NATO air-defence systems and, at least at first, will be set up and operated by Russians,” The Economist said.

“Unless Turkey is frozen out of NATO information-sharing on countermeasures aimed at defeating the S-400, Russia can expect a windfall of intelligence.”

The Germans had also moved their Tornado jets to Jordan from Turkey after visiting politicians were denied access to İncirlik Air Base, the magazine said.

However, both parties needed to continue the relationship, it said.

“As with many unhappy marriages, the reality is that, however fraught their relationship, Turkey and NATO have little choice but to try to make it work.”

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