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Turkey’s Authoritarian Policy on NATO Principles

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Since Erdogan’s assumption of power in Turkey in 2003 and his party’s control of state institutions. He practices a repressive, authoritarian policy hostile and inconsistent with the liberal, democratic values ​​of NATO. The gray policy increased ferocity and gravity when the coup occurred in 2016, Erdogan involved in violations of human rights and the suppression of freedoms, and he alliances with authoritarian regimes such as Iran and Russia. Moreover, his involvement in supporting terrorism in the region, creating chaos and wars. In addition, he is challenging NATO, the United States security strategy and their geopolitical interests. This policy has grave consequences for NATO countries and their allies and poses a great challenge for them that Turkey’s transition to a policy with practices that are contrary to international law and democracy. It is an authoritarian approach that needs to be addressed and dealt with quickly.

Analyzing, Problem and Risks

Erdogan has great aspirations to be the Sultan of Turkey and Muslims in the world to restore the glories of his Ottoman grandparents in controlling the Middle East and Europe. So, he changed the Turkish constitution to control the country and under the pretext of attempting a coup against him, he pursued a fierce policy against opponents, civil organizations, and the suppression of freedom of expression and the press and practiced killings and arrests of Kurds. This is a regression of democracy and an escalation of the authoritarian model. It also interfered in Syria militarily, against the NATO – US ally (Kurdish Forces) who were fighting ISIS. Erdogan has also resorted to supporting Islamic extremists by converting a crossing for them to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. He supported the jihadists to go Syria to join ISIS, Alnusrra and Al Qaeda and fight the Syrian regime and the Kurds. Moreover, interfered in Egypt and Libya with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as its threat to Greece, Cyprus and NATO countries through refugees and sending Islamic extremists. Turkey also explores oil and gas in the Mediterranean, ignoring the European Union’s protests. This contributed to instability in the region, and constituted a great tension in relations between Turkey, the United States, and NATO. Because of that Erdogan policy, which is hostile to NATO’s goals based on democratic values, achieving stability and peace, fighting terrorism and the rule of law. Erdogan is taking advantage of his country’s membership in NATO and dragging it to wars in the region.  He is seeking to impose what he wants on them, and his threat to close NATO military bases in Turkey. In addition, He considers Russia an ally, despite it being a threat to NATO. Despite warnings from NATO and America, he obtained the Russian missiles. So, this is a dangerous development that will allow Russia to spy on the defense and security strategy of NATO and sabotage it and know the ability of American combat aircraft. Russia will seek to fulfill the desire of Erdogan to acquire a nuclear reactor, which will be the greatest threat to NATO and its security. All this produced a relationship that became hostile everywhere. Turkey has turned its system into a dictatorship and radical Islamic fundamentalism., day after day, Erdogan has turned into authoritarianism without shame, and has become a threat to democracy and the interests of NATO countries.

NATO Policy to Turkey

Protecting Europe from any further expansion of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence and interference was the main argument for expanding NATO membership, to include Turkey in 1952. Turkey, in turn, sought to be part of the European club and approached the West. That is why the US military presence in Turkey with conventional and nuclear forces was against the Soviet threat as well as against the potential effects of instability and conflicts in the Middle East. Where the strategic interests of the allies always dominate relations between Turkey and NATO, during and after the Cold War. That is why Turkey was under the protection of NATO and its supply of advanced weapons. Turkey is an important member of NATO because of its strategic location between East and West, and its control of the Bosporus and Dardanelles to prevent Russia from reaching the Mediterranean Sea. Also hosting the Turkish Incirlik base for the American forces and the Patriot missiles, Turkey’s contribution to NATO with its soldiers in Kosovo and Afghanistan and supporting NATO’s military and financial tasks. That is why Erdogan takes advantage of all this to use him in his despotic policies and practices that are angering NATO countries and increasing their division. The preamble to the 1949 NATO Treaty states that NATO members are “determined to protect the freedom, shared heritage, and civilization of their people, based on the principles of democracy, individual freedom, and the rule of law.” That is why the member states of NATO are very concerned about the changes taking place in Turkey, but nonetheless NATO seeks to preserve the relationship with Turkey and not leave the alliance. This policy towards Turkey tarnishes the alliance’s image and mission, weakens democracy and the rule of law, and further weakens the alliance. It contributes to encouraging Erdogan to escalate his influence by supporting extremist Islamic movements, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra Movement, and thus the terrorism industry in the Middle East, and its export to Europe. So, they should deal Turkey practices as a “frenemy” and adopt the term that has been applied to Pakistan.As a result, if NATO remains silent toward Erdogan’s authoritarian policies, which are hostile to liberal and democratic values, and his cooperation with Iran and Russia, we will find NATO implicated and responsible for Turkey’s crimes, where war crimes inside Syria and ethnic cleansing of the Kurds, as well as its interference in Libya. This will send NATO into wars to defend a member of the alliance. This will bring disaster, instability and the possibility of Iran and Russia affecting NATO’s security and military affairs through their relations and strategic cooperation with Turkey.

Policy Recommendations 

  • Imposing economic and military sanctions.
  • Stop the negotiations on Turkey joining the European Union permanently.
  • NATO should announce to Turkey its refusal to obtain nuclear weapons.
  • Transfer nuclear weapons of the United States and the NATO military presence from Incirlik Base, to Jordan, Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Forming an investigation committee on war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and demographic change against the Kurds committed by Turkey and extremist Syrian militias.
  • Amend and review NATO laws to expel and punish Turkey.
  • It is important for NATO allies to cooperate together in the UN Security Council to put pressure on Turkey and stop its authoritarian policies.
  • Investigate crimes against humanity committed by Turkey and the Syrian National Army militia in Syria against Kurdish civilians, and their role in supporting terrorism and extremism.

Researcher , Political analyst , US foreign policy , Syria conflict, Kurds affairs and the Middle East issues.

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Defense

Israel continues its air strikes against Syria after Biden’s inauguration: What’s next?

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A family of four, including two children, died as a result of an alleged Israeli air strike on Hama in northwestern Syria on Friday, January 22, Syrian media said. In addition, four people were injured and three civilian houses were destroyed.

According to a military source quoted by Syrian outlets, Israel launched an air strike at 4 a.m. on Friday from the direction of Lebanese city of Tripoli against some targets on the outskirts of Hama city.

“Syrian air defense systems confronted an Israeli air aggression and shot down most of the hostile missiles,” the source said.

The Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post reported that there were loud sounds of explosions in the area.

In turn, the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment on alleged strikes resulted in the death of Syrian citizens.

Over the past time, Israel significantly stepped up its aerial bombardment. This incident was the fifth in a series of Israeli air attacks on targets in Syria in the past month and the first after the inauguration of the U.S. President Joe Biden. Foreign analysts and military experts said that Tel Aviv intensified air strikes on Syria, taking advantage of the vacuum of power in the United States on the eve of Biden taking office as president.

While the Donald Trump administration turned a blind eye on such aggression, a change of power in the United States could remarkably limit Israel in conducting of military operations against Syria and Iran-affiliated armed groups located there. As it was stated during his presidential campaign, Joe Biden intends to pursue a more conciliatory foreign policy towards Iran. In particular, he unequivocally advocated the resumption of the nuclear deal with the Islamic republic. In this regard, Tel Aviv’s unilateral actions against Iranian interests in Syria could harm Washington’s plans to reduce tensions with Tehran.

By continuing air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, Israel obviously sent a massage to the United States that Tel Aviv will consistently run anti-Iran policy, even if it will be in conflict with the interests of the Joe Biden administration. On the other hand, such Israeli behavior threatens to worsen relations with the United States, its main ally.

In the nearest future, the US reaction on the Israeli belligerent approach toward Iran will likely determine whether the relations between Tehran, Tel Aviv and Washington will get better or the escalation will continue.

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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Defense

A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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