NATO appoints Turkey to lead drive into the Middle East and Asia

nato-appoints-turkey-to-lead-drive-into-the-middle-east-and-asia

06-04-21 11:18:00,

NATO appoints Turkey to lead drive into the Middle East and Asia
Rick Rozoff

On the first of the year the North Atlantic Treaty Organization transferred command of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) to Turkey.

On March 30 NATO turned over its current mission in Afghanistan to Turkish Brigadier General Selçuk Yurtsizoğlu.

In a phone conversation on April 1 U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar discussed Turkey’s role in leading the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan among other matters.

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken while both were attending the NATO meeting of foreign ministers and secretaries on March 23-24. (Blinken on the occasion: “Turkey is a long-standing and valued ally.”)

Speaking at an event in the U.S. on March 9 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “I think that we need to understand that Turkey is an important ally. Because you can just look at the map and then you see that Turkey is extremely important.” [That final sentence is key and will be addressed later.]

A few days earlier Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote on Twitter, “We would like to thank the NATO Secretary General for his objective evaluations on Euro-Atlantic security and defence matters.”

This is notwithstanding Turkey having supported and supervised if not directed last year’s 45-day war by Azerbaijan – the countries identify themselves (or itself) as “one nation, two states” – against minuscule Nagorno-Karabakh, its invasion of Northern Iraq thirteen years ago, its ongoing proxy war in Libya, its both direct and proxy war in Syria, its regular buzzing of fellow NATO member Greece’s aircraft in the Aegean Sea and its – now at 43 years – longest counterinsurgency war in the world against ethnic Kurds in its own country (which has spilled over into Iraq and Syria.) None of that in any manner disturbs NATO, the self-styled alliance of democracies.

What does distress the 30-member military bloc is that Turkey has purchased Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft weapons. In doing so it has violated a cardinal tenet of NATO: one must only purchase NATO-interoperable weapons from fellow member states or partners like Sweden and Israel. Turkey’s unwillingness to cancel the purchase of the S-400s led to the U.S.

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