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John Bolton: Turkiye should be expelled from NATO for ‘not acting like an ally’

January 18, 2023 at 5:11 pm

Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton, 23 March 2018 [John Bolton/Wikipedia]

A former United States’ National Security Advisor has called on the NATO military alliance to expel Turkiye and give support to its opposition parties, accusing it of not acting like an ally.

In an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal, John Bolton – National Security Advisor to the administration of former US President Donald Trump – criticised Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “divisive and dangerous” performance and “belligerent regional policies”.

Accusing Erdogan of “subverting key elements of Turkiye’s post-Ottoman secular constitution to repeatedly compromising its financial system and economic stability,” Bolton said that the country is a NATO member state “but it isn’t acting like an ally”.

He urged the West to take “bold action to help ensure his domestic opposition gets a fair shake in upcoming presidential elections” this year, adding that “Turkish voters will have a chance to take their country”.

Despite acknowledging that NATO’s “founding charter doesn’t provide for expulsion or suspension”, his recommendation in helping overthrow Erdogan is to have the alliance “put Ankara’s membership on the chopping block” and to “make clear that Turkiye’s failure to conduct free and fair elections would be the final trigger in deciding whether to revoke its NATO membership”. Meanwhile, western nations could prevent interference in the elections by “encouraging increased international monitoring and media reporting” on it.

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Calling Erdogan’s foreign policy “treacherous”, Bolton repeated the usual trope of claiming the Turkish President holds “neo-Ottoman” aspirations to regain Turkiye’s influence in the region through its “effort to establish Turkish hegemony over northern Syria amid the country’s civil war”.

He also accused the President and his government of having “blackmailed Europe by enabling refugee flows through Turkiye into neighbouring countries, all while meddling in the anarchy that prevails across Syria.” Despite Turkiye’s reconciliation with Israel last year and its efforts to build on those ties, Bolton claimed that Erdogan has “consistent antagonism toward Israel” which “reflects his broader hegemonic designs in the Middle East”.

Even Turkiye’s provision of drones to Ukraine throughout the ongoing Russian invasion was criticised by Bolton as being “more a publicity stunt to advertise his drone program and shouldn’t obscure his continuing threats elsewhere.” One of those threats, he said, is Ankara’s demands to Sweden and Finland to combat influences of Kurdish militant or terror elements within their countries – which Bolton called an “anti-Kurdish crusade” – in return for the approval of their bids to enter the NATO alliance.

Throughout the former Trump administration and the following years, Bolton has been vocally and radically opposed to Erdogan’s government and Turkish geopolitical interests, being a major part of the US’s economic war against Turkiye. Last year, he even admitted that he had helped Washington plan coups abroad, giving him a good track record in his apparent plans to help overthrow Erdogan’s rule.

READ: Using NATO membership as leverage, Turkiye is giving the EU a taste of its own medicine