Turkey May Exit NATO Over Refugee Blockade, Arming of Kurds
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan envisioned himself the Sultan of a new Ottoman Empire, but now faces the bleak reality that he is the annoying little brother of the US and Europe who will never get his way.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced this week that NATO will expand its presence in the Mediterranean in order to stem the tide of Syrian refugees flowing from Turkey into Europe. Ankara has objected, feeling the alliance’s resources could be put to better use elsewhere
Turkish officials argue that NATO’s limited resources should instead be directed towards combatting ‘Russian aggression’ in a bid to hamstring the alliance’s efforts to prevent human smuggling in the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.
There are currently over six million refugees of the Syrian Civil War, with 2.75 million seeking shelter in neighboring Turkey. The country has become the single largest host nation of migrants fleeing the horrors of war and the threat of enslavement at the hands of Daesh extremists.
In addition to the large initial intake of refugees, Ankara also offered to shelter an additional one million refugees currently residing in Europe in exchange for approximately $7.3 billion. The deal also included concessions that would provide Turkish citizens with visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Zone and expedite the country’s European Union membership