When will they ever learn that you can’t talk to a man with a shotgun in his hand, especially when you’ve given him the ammunition and are standing still like clay pigeons?
For years, Greece, the European Union and NATO – along with the United States – have allowed Turkey’s tinpot dictator, Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to have his delusions of grandeur even though they aren’t harmless.
Appeasement never works but the officials who went to the Neville Chamberlain School of Diplomacy keep thinking that giving Erdogan what he wants means he won’t want so much.
What he wants though is everything: American F-16s and F-35s that could be used against Greece in a conflict whose horrible possibility is even being thought of, and to take back Greek islands ceded away by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne he doesn’t recognize unless invoking to his advantage.
Believing he is the reincarnation of Sultan Mehmed II who conquered Constantinople in 1453, his envisioned Blue Homeland doctrine claims swathes of Greek territory, much like the Former Yugoslav Republic of FYROM said it owned Thessaloniki.
Erdogan and his little Hitler mustache plan to send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands. He sends F-16s repeatedly into Greek skies – he says they are Turkish – and a trembling NATO looks the other way.
The chief of the defenseless alliance Jens ‘Jello’ Stoltenberg, who looks like he’s going to faint when you mention Erdogan’s name, has admitted he wants no part of the feud.
What else can you expect from an invertebrate who, while Prime Minister of Norway, sat on his hands while a madman, Anders Behring Breivik, killed 77 people, mostly young, in a massacre on the island of Utoeya in 2011?
An official report said police took an “unacceptable time” to reach the island and criticized forces for the bungled attempt to get there on an inflatable boat as apparently Norway doesn’t have helicopters or rapid response forces.
Still alive, unlike the 77 murdered, he said he took responsibility and apologized, the line people like him always take when trying to duck real responsibility and for which they’re never held accountable.
Since he didn’t react to one guy with guns did you think he would stand up to Erdogan and F-16s? If you’re ever unlucky enough to be around Stoltenberg, just shout the name Erdogan like you’re saying “BOO!” – but have smelling salts handy.
He’s one of those who are propping up Erdogan, although not as bad as a long line of EU officials who keep thinking that talking nice to him will work – it doesn’t – and he made European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stand like the help during a visit to Ankara and she stood for it, so to speak.
Turkey has been trying to join the EU since 2005, the prospects dimmer under Erdogan’s autocratic rule as the bloc says essentially nothing about him jailing journalists by the dozen and purging civil society, the courts, military, and the education system after a failed 2016 coup attempt.
He said he would veto the application of Finland and Sweden to join NATO in a disguised blackmail attempt to get the United States to sell him F-35’s to shoot down Greek F-16’s if it comes to that.
Successive Greek governments – as well as Cyprus, whose northern third is occupied by Turkish-Cypriots and 35,000 Turkish troops – still support Turkey’s EU application, believing that one day Turkey will get in and stop provocations.
Turkey won’t be admitted to the EU because its human rights record and rule of law failures are even greater than those of the bloc, which allows quasi-dictators like Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban to humiliate it repeatedly.
Even worse is NATO’s subservience to him, believing Turkey’s geopolitical position is too important to ignore, so he holds 29 other countries, including the United States, hostage to his needs and demands.
Any of NATO’s 30 members who want to leave have to inform the United States in writing, but expelling one is a difficult path indeed, although it’s time for the alliance to pull the plug on Turkey and let Erdogan ask Russia for help when he needs it.
For a country to be expelled from NATO there must be a “material breach” of its principles under Article 60 and showing proof that it is so severe and persistent as to effectively “disavow” or repudiate the treaty.
Here’s proof: Turkey bought Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems that could be used against Greece – a NATO member – and undermine the security of the alleged alliance itself.
When an ally is buying weapons from the enemy it’s generally called treason but in Brussels, where NATO is headquartered, it’s not polite to mention that because it spoils free lunches that come with jello.
So end the EU hopes, kick Turkey out of NATO and what’s Erdogan left with? He can’t talk to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis because the Turkish leader said the Greek leader no longer exists for him.
That was Erdogan’s hissy fit after Mitsotakis – without even mentioning Turkey – asked the U.S. Congress to block President Joe Biden’s attempt to sell more F-16’s to Turkey and upgrade the Turkish air fleet.
Cut Turkey loose and deprive Erdogan of what he wants more than taking back Greek islands: humiliating Greece, the United States, EU and NATO.