Erdogan Blasts US at White House. Was That Good for NATO?

Critics howled at Trump’s invitation to the Turkish autocrat. Others clench their teeth and say it’s paramount to keep Ankara in the anti-Russian alliance.


Trump and his dictator pal Erdowan.

11/14/19
“I’m a big fan of the president,” Donald Trump said of his guest Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the autocratic Turkish leader whose military and allies recently chased American troops and partners from northern Syria. Then Erdogan stepped to the microphones at Wednesday’s White House press conference and laid into the United States. Standing in the East Room, the Turkish leader dismissed the U.S. approach in Syria, branded U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters as “terrorists,” rapped Congress over proposed sanctions and Armenian genocide measures, and said the Pentagon’s refusal to supply Patriot missile batteries was an “injustice” that forced Turkey into Russia’s arms. All these issues can be resolved through dialogue, Erdogan said, painting Turkey’s relations with the U.S. and NATO as better than they actually are, and showing no signs of budging on any of them. This was exactly the moment senior Republican and Democratic national security leaders tried to avoid. But it was a moment many U.S. and NATO leaders think was necessary. Trump, long known for praising authoritarian leaders, was no less effusive for Erdogan and his government. “Turkey, as everyone knows, is a great NATO ally, and a strategic partner of the United States around the world,” he said. “We’re grateful to President Erdogan and to the citizens of Turkey for their cooperation in the constant struggle against terrorism. He fights it like we do.”

Yet Turkey and Turkish forces do not fight like U.S. troops, it seems. In the weeks since the incursion began, U.S. intelligence, independent human rights watchers, and journalists have documented potential war crimes, including direct attacks on civilians. Trump’s only nod to these allegations came in his prepared opening remarks: “We’ve assured each other that Turkey will continue to uphold what it’s supposed to uphold.” Among those trying to keep Turkey closer to NATO than Moscow is alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is in Washington this week to meet Trump and leaders of the global counter-ISIS coalition. He has had the unenviable job of walking the line between Ankara and the rest of the alliance, even as some wonder whether NATO should cut Turkey loose. “There are different views, but we agree on several things, including that Turkey has legitimate security concerns,” Stoltenberg said in October. Last week in Berlin, he added, “I have expressed my deep concern about the consequences of the incursion into northern Syria, and I also stated clearly that we must not jeopardize the gains, the progress we have made in the fight against ISIS.” The world will be watching how NATO leaders treat Erdogan in next month’s London summit, looking for cracks in the alliance’s armor.
Quite like Putin, Kim, and the other global dregs that Trump clings to, Erdowan also threatened to retaliate if the US doesn't do everything he wants. Erdowan says jump and Trump asks "How high?"

More journalists are imprisoned in Turkey that anywhere else. Erdowan and his Islamist forces are accused of committing atrocities against Kurds in Syria, and also war crimes - the use of white phosphorous against civilians.

Erdowan also expedited the movement of ISIS volunteers through Turkey, and is a champion of the Muslim Brotherhood.