Is America starting to think about what was once unthinkable? Has Washington begun to realize that Turkey is a lost cause and that it should learn to live without it?
Undoubtedly ‘the elephant in the room’ during Mitsotakis’ visit to Washington was Erdogan. No one pronounced his name – publicly. Nobody uttered the word ‘Turkey’. But they were ‘present’.
And Erdogan was ‘present’ in the inevitable comparisons with the Prime Minister of Greece. And the comparison was overwhelmingly to the detriment of Erdogan. The American officials interacting with Mitsotakis had as an interlocutor a modern leader of Greece and Europe. A leader who, out of conviction and a keen appreciation of his country’s national interest, is a staunch supporter of the NATO Alliance and the West.
And his country is one that participates in and implements the decisions of the Alliance, even when it pays an economic price. And this is proven in the case of Ukraine.
On the other hand, there is an authoritarian leader of a NATO nation who is constantly creating problems. Who constantly puts his personal political interest and that of his oligarchic friends above the unity and ability of NATO to make decisions. As he does now with the request of Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
The question of whether Erdogan’s Turkey belongs in NATO is posed by Joe Lieberman and Mark Wallace in an article in the Wall Street Journal. This question has been asked before. But now it has become more imperative.
Unprecedented proof that such a reassessment is in the air is the fact that when Mitsotakis stated at the reception at the White House that “no one, no one can or will accept a two state solution in Cyprus,” Biden applauded him as much as the Greek-Americans did.
The concept of a ‘two state solution’ is not a touchstone of Turkey’s foreign policy, but it is its policy regarding the Cyprus issue. So Biden’s applause is revealing – if not for U.S.
policy, at least for this administration’s feelings about Erdogan. Mr. Mitsotakis received similar applause in response to the same statement from the Representatives and Senators who attended his speech in the U.S. Capitol – from both parties.
So there could not be a more overwhelming comparison in favor of Greece today, from the point of view of Washington and NATO. But this alone, however useful, is not enough. They must finally come to the conclusion that the mistake of appeasing Putin should not be repeated with Erdogan.
We are living the price we are paying for the mistake made with Putin. We do not yet know what the price will be for appeasing Erdogan – but rest assured, there will be a price to pay. The story about Erdogan’s aggressions will not have a happy ending.