Magazine November 25, 2019, Issue

Turkey, NATO, and a Shifting World

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, on August 27, 2019 (Alexey Nikolsky / AFP via Getty Images)
What recent years, and recent weeks, have told

Turkey is a strange ally of the United States, and a strange member of NATO. This has been clear for several years now. It has become yet clearer in recent weeks.

On October 6, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish strongman, had a phone call with President Donald Trump. Apparently, the Turk informed the American that Turkish forces would invade Syria in order to attack Syrian Kurds (who had been allied with the United States in the fight against ISIS). Trump said the U.S. would not interfere — would, in fact, clear out of the region. On October 9, Turkey invaded, in

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