The Corner

Are Europe and Obama Finally Cracking Down on Turkey?

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his radical Islamic Justice and Development Party have remained remarkably immune from Western criticism, despite Erdogan’s alliance with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s genocidal regime and Turkey’s nautical terror activities against Israel during the Gaza flotilla incident.

But a series of escalating attacks — including a Financial Times report that Obama plans to turn the military-weapons-sales screws on Turkey, as well as last week’s call from German politicians for an international investigation of the Turkish military’s use of chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels — suggest blips of resistance. According to yesterday’s FT, “President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey’s prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the US weapons it wants to buy.”

Turkey appears to be intoxicated with its brand of political Islam, and has made nearly a clean break with the West. Herb Keinon, the diplomatic reporter for the Jerusalem Post, noted in early August “comments Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a few days earlier questioning whether sensitive security and intelligence shared in the past with Turkey had, because of the appointment of a new intelligence chief with ties to Iran, made it into enemy hands.”

Last week’s disclosure in the German media that Turkey used chemical weapons against Kurds adds another compelling reason to discipline Turkey’s anti-Western behavior. A forensic report from Hamburg University Hospital confirmed that eight Kurds had been murdered in September 2009 by “the use of chemical substances.” Turkish-Kurdish human-rights activists delivered photos in March to a delegation of German politicians, Turkey specialists, and journalists. The bodies in the photos were severely deformed and torn to pieces; the photos formed the basis for the forensic report.

A leading foreign-affairs politician and MP from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party — as well members of parliament from the Green Party and the Left Party — have called for an international investigation into the Turkish armed forces’ use of biological weapons, which is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention; Turkey is a signatory to the anti-chemical-weapons treaty.

In short, NATO, of which Turkey is a member, and the United States need to further show Turkey that if it continues along its radical Islamic path, its relations with the West will involve more sticks than carrots.

Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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