How Erdogan’s Turkey Became NATO’s Wild Card

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said Ankara had agreed to support his country’s and Sweden’s membership bids, removing a major obstacle to their entry into the alliance.

Turkey has become a headache for NATO. But recent geopolitical events have shown that the alliance will have to put up with it. Experts say Erdogan is well aware of this and is using his country’s place in the group to serve his national interests.

In the European war, which has essentially turned into a conflict between the Kremlin and NATO, Turkey is positioning itself as a neutral side, refusing to join their allies in sanctions against Russia, offering mediation between the warring parties. It has supported Ukraine in the war, but tried not to cause enmity with Moscow.

Experts say that today Turkey is more valuable than ever for NATO. The country is on the southeastern flank of the alliance, a key buffer between Russia and the West. It maintains the second largest army in the alliance after the United States and borders a number of Middle Eastern countries with a history of political instability where Western states have major interests.

However, Ankara has not always been a thorn in the side of the alliance.

Turkey joined NATO in 1952, three years after its formation after World War II, and regards the alliance as the “cornerstone” of its defense and security policy. But analysts and historians say that while Turkey has historically served the group’s strategic interests, it has become more of a destructive force under Erdogan’s rule.

Erdogan was prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and president since 2014.

“During the Cold War, Turkey [was] firmly rooted in Western security infrastructure,” said Oya Dursun-Ozkanjaprofessor of political science at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and author of Relations Between Turkey and the West: The Politics of the Allied Opposition, adding that the country has been a “pretty reliable” ally of the West for more than half a century.

However, the frequency and intensity of disagreements between Turkey and NATO allies have increased over time as Ankara takes an active and anti-Western foreign policy stance, she said.

Erdogan disagreed with NATO allies on a number of issues, including Syria and Libya, and has used his country’s strategic position to extract concessions from his European neighbors by threatening open the floodgates refugees from neighboring conflict zones.
In 2009 Turkey opposed the appointment Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark as head of NATO to then US President Barack Obama promised that one of Rasmussen’s deputies would be a Turk. Turkey claimed that Rasmussen investigation of offenses Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2006 was problematic.
Perhaps the most daring and most controversial moveTurkey bought Russia’s S-400 missile defense system in 2019, calling into question a longstanding alliance with both the US and NATO. S-400 missiles were intended to destroy NATO aircraft.
Sinan Ulgena former Turkish diplomat and chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank, said Erdoğan is “super-centralized decision maker” and his “combative, more aggressive, [and] a less consensual leadership style has caused difficulties for NATO.
“It is also a reflection of the increased unpredictability Turkish foreign policy,” he said.

But experts say it’s only natural for an alliance member to prioritize national interests where possible. The problem arises when these interests diverge from NATO’s agenda.

“The Turks make it difficult for NATO to make decisions based on consensus because they refuse to go with the flow until national interests are satisfied,” he said. Rich OutzenSenior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, former US military officer and State Department official.

“This is not bad behavior for the alliance; this is typical alliance behavior for states that have the weight to deal with this,” he added.

While Turkey understands its value to NATO, analysts say it also sees its benefits in membership. According to Ulgen, Ankara has repeatedly turned to NATO for support in the field of strategic security. “This is a mutually beneficial relationship in the field of security and politics.

“Ultimately, Turkey and NATO need each other,” he said, using the country’s new name.

Digest

Iran applied to join the BRICS group of developing countries

Iran has applied to join the group of emerging economies known as the BRICS, an Iranian official said on Monday. Membership in the BRICS group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, “will bring additional benefits to both sides,” said a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

  • Background: Russia has long sought to forge closer ties with Asia, South America and the Middle East, but it has recently stepped up its efforts to weather sanctions imposed by Europe, the United States and other countries over its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Why is it important: Russia presented these statements as evidence that the West failed to isolate Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine. “While the White House was thinking what else in the world should be turned off, banned or corrupted, Argentina and Iran applied to join the BRICS,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. The BRICS account for more than 40% of the world’s population and about 26% of the global economy.

Imprisoned Egyptian blogger enters danger zone of hunger strike – mother

The mother of imprisoned Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abd el-Fattaha says she is worried her son’s health could take a turn for the worse after a nearly 90-day hunger strike, despite some improvements in prison conditions. Abd el-Fattah, a 40-year-old blogger who rose to fame during the 2011 Egyptian uprising, has become too weak to do his own laundry or climb out of his cell’s tall window, his mother, Layla Suef, said.

  • Background: Abd el-Fattah was sentenced to five years in December on charges of spreading false news for posting a social media post about a prisoner’s death, and was previously jailed for protesting without permission. On April 2, he went on strike against his detention and alleged violations of the law in prison.
  • Why is it important: His case attracted attention in the UK after he was granted British citizenship last year as part of the family’s campaign to free him. The Egyptian State Press Center did not respond to a request for comment. On June 9, the Interior Ministry said it had videos proving that Abd el-Fattah did not go on a hunger strike, but did not release the video.

UN estimates that 1.5% of the Syrian population was killed during the war

The UN Human Rights Office on Tuesday said that approximately 1.5% of Syria’s pre-war population, or 306,887 civilians, were killed between 2011 and 2021 due to the conflict. This is the highest UN rating to date.

  • Background: Syria plunged into civil war after protests erupted in March 2011 against President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. The conflict has drawn in several world powers and left the country in ruins, with thousands of civilians killed and millions displaced. The report also notes that “on average, every day over the past 10 years, 83 civilians have been victims of violent conflict-related deaths.”
  • Why is it important: Although the conflict has been frozen for years as Assad has regained control of much of Syria, the humanitarian crisis continues. The report also notes that the record estimate is only a fraction of the deaths, and that the analysis provides “a clearer picture of the severity and extent of the conflict.”

By region

Long considered an integral part of Cairo’s modern history and a hallmark of the capital’s artistic landscape, some of the houseboats on the River Nile suffered a fate similar to most of the city’s other notable features: removal for the sake of modernization.

Dozens of floating structures along the main river of the Egyptian capital. Some of them are home to residents, while others are nightclubs, restaurants, or cafes where the city’s artists, writers, and scientists are known to congregate.

Some of the houseboats are 100 years old, says Ahdaf Souef, a well-known Egyptian writer and owner of a houseboat that she says was removed by the government. Many such vessels were also acted in famous Egyptian filmsincluding the 1971 film Talks of the Nile.

Social media campaigns have swept across multiple platforms, with the #SaveCairoHouseboats hashtag trending on Twitter in the country after the first deletions began two weeks ago.

“This is my house,” said Ahdaf Suef, video posted on twitter“Others were born in these boathouses, they don’t know how to do anything else.”

The North African nation is experiencing a massive building boom, backed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

But activists and residents have criticized the building boom, saying the city’s heritage and character are being lost in the name of modernization.

Authorities say every act of removal is scrutinized and evaluated to make sure historic sites remain intact.

On a talk show with Egyptian host Amr Adeeb, head of the Nile Protection Department in Greater Cairo, Ayman Anwar, orders to dismantle some houseboats came in 2020, and this notice was sent to those who live in them.

Anwar also noted that boats classified by the state as “historical” or intended for tourism purposes would not be removed. He added that most of the houseboats marked for removal are worn out and should be removed for safety reasons.

According to Anwar, three houseboats have been dismantled since June 18, and another 15 are due to be dismantled by June 28.

Nadine Ebrahim

$561 billion

The value of oil exports by the 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2021 increased by 77% compared to 2020, according to the annual statistical bulletin of OPEC, published on Tuesday.

Photo of the day

A young Iraqi shepherd cools buffaloes in the sewage waters of the dried-up Diyala River, which was a tributary of the Tigris, in the Al-Fadilia district east of Baghdad on June 26.  The drought in Iraq reflects the decline in water levels.  waterways due to lack of rainfall and lower flow from the neighboring upstream countries of Iran and Turkey.

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