A few days ago, I supported the view that Turkey no longer has a place in NATO. The mere fact that it buys a sophisticated defense system from Russia, the S-400 missiles, should be enough to at least ‘freeze’ its membership in NATO.
However, the matter does not stop there. It is now sending a new, strong message to NATO about which way it is leaning, and who it stands with. And it is not the United States, and it is not NATO. It's Russia.
Specifically, Turkey announced – listen to this – that Russia will conduct military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean – in the same region where a Turkish vessel, which is in Greek waters in violation of international law, is conducting provocative energy research, under the ‘protection’ of its navy.
It is clear that this is the Turkish ‘response’ to the military exercises France is conducting in the Eastern Mediterranean.
What Erdogan is saying is that if Greece has … ‘insignificant’ France on its side, he has mighty Russia.
First and foremost, this is the biggest challenge ever posed by a member of the Western alliance – it brings to mind the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Khrushchev installed Soviet weapons aimed at America on Castro’s Cuba – which almost led to a nuclear war.
Under different circumstances in Washington, this action by Turkey would have had very serious consequences.
The United States would have frozen all military sales and shipments to Turkey.
It would have reduced the number of U.S. forces – and possibly its nuclear weapons – in and from Turkey.
And it would have triggered harsh economic sanctions against the Turkish state as well as against the Turkish leadership – including Erdogan.
At the same time, this is also an unacceptable, unfriendly action by Russia against Greece and the Greek people – regardless of statements to the contrary of the Russian spokesperson – who for decades has recounted the fairytale that Russia cares about Greece – and Cyprus.
The only possible good that can come out of this unacceptable Turkey-Russia alliance to the detriment of the United States and Greece is to bring the U.S. and Greece even closer, in all areas, including military matters.