Could Murder of Russian Ambassador Lead to a Reassessment of Turkey’s Role in NATO?
Imagine if the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico were publicly executed in Mexico City by a Mexican government security guard who shouted slogans about “justice” for illegal immigrants. And if then we found out that the guard had a track record of involvement in radical nationalism. How would the U.S. government respond to that? What would ordinary Americans demand that we do?
Expect the Russian government to be similarly aggressive in responding to the blatant, vicious murder of Andrei Karlov, its Ambassador to Turkey — who was gunned down on camera while visiting an art gallery by Turkish riot policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas. Russian president Vladimir Putin has called for Russian security services to be involved in Turkey’s investigation of the murder, which was caught on camera (WARNING: graphic footage):
VIDEO: Moment Russian Ambassador Karlov shot at art exhibition pic.twitter.com/JFuaeXhW7J
— Ann Kirton Langley (@AnnEnglishRose) December 19, 2016
Revenge for Those “Moderate Rebels” in Syria
The murderer claimed that his attack was revenge against Russia, which has helped Syria’s dictatorial government defeat al Qaeda-allied Islamist rebels in Aleppo, preserving that country’s secular regime and the safety of religious minorities in Syria, including a million Christians. Turkey has been one of the prime sponsors of the Islamist militias in Syria, which have executed Christians, ISIS-style, in regions which they seized. Those jihadists also benefited from U.S. aid, advocated by the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham for “moderate rebels” who turned out not quite to exist.
If a confrontation were to develop between the governments, whose side will America take? The media-vilified Russian government or the Islamist regime in Turkey? By treaty, we are actually committed to defend Turkey, because it is still a member of NATO. No doubt Erdogan’s rogue regime feels empowered by that legacy of the Cold War. It will also count on the reflexive hostility to Russia by those who see that country as our inveterate enemy, whatever its regime. But it’s time to reconsider those impulses, and a Trump administration seems likely to ponder long and hard whether Russia is our enemy or Turkey our friend.
Who is Invading Europe: Russia or Turkey?
Before Russia shook off its Communist regime, Turkey was a solid U.S. ally, with a secular government that did a reasonable job of protecting the rights of Christian and other minorities — the tragic remnants of Byzantine Christianity after centuries of ethnic cleansing and grinding Islamic rule under the Ottomans. That Muslim empire lorded it over the citizens of Hungary, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia for centuries. Features of Ottoman rule included the regular kidnapping of thousands of Christian infants, to be raised as Muslim soldiers.
Secular Turkey could protect its minorities, serve as a U.S. ally, and advance toward modernization as long as it was a military regime, which enforced its non-Islamic constitution by refusing to hold elections. Once Turkey, under misguided American pressure to democratize, began its transition to mass elections during the late 1990s, the voice of Islamist radicals began to drown out all the others.
Springtime for Islamists
Now the country is ruled by the increasingly autocratic Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has jailed hundreds of journalists in the wake of a dubious coup attempt in July. Erdogan has made it clear that he is nostalgic for Turkey’s old imperial, Islamist past: He is dressing his palace guards in old Ottoman uniforms, revising history books to glorify the country’s Islamist past, and cracking down on the religious rights of Christians.
Turkey aided and abetted the mass colonization of Europe by Syrian “refugees,” who under international law should have remained there, as the “first safe country.” Now it threatens to send 1-2 million more.
Turkey aided and abetted the mass colonization of Europe by Syrian “refugees,” who under international law should have remained there, as the “first safe country” they could reach. Instead, Turkey helped them to enter Greece and other countries, from which they could travel to Germany, Sweden, and other lands with generous welfare systems. The resulting wave of immigrant crimes and terrorist attacks is disrupting politics all across the European Union.
Instead of mitigating the flow, Turkish president Erdogan is using the fear of more refugees as a stick in negotiations with the EU, demanding that it continue moves to admit Turkey to the EU, and grant visa-free travel for the whole population of Turkey throughout the whole European Union — or else face a new influx of 1-2 million more colonists, who he threatens to ship into a supine Europe unwilling to defend its southern borders.
NATO was created to deter a Russian invasion. It succeeded. What a hideous irony it would be if NATO were used to protect a regime that is invading Europe with a far more intractable enemy: Muslims who oppressed and terrorized large parts of Europe for 400 years.