Turkey says it is “meaningless” to restore NATO dialogue with Sweden, Finland


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Great analysis. Building on something you said, I want to point out that Turkey needs NATO far, far more than NATO needs Turkey. Even leaving aside the fact that Turkey and Russia strongly dislike each other, siding with Russia is a very unattractive security proposition in 2023.

Other than siding with Russia or siding with NATO, Turkey lacks viable options. China is half a world away, on the other side of Suez/Gibraltar, and Turkey is neither populous enough, nor rich enough, nor militarily powerful enough to go it alone. If they try, they will bankrupt themselves maintaining a semblance of a modern military without Western tech transfer, and they will find themselves on the outside of every trade agreement and joint exercise going forward.

Of course, NATO would rather have Turkey in than out because we want (a better chance of) access to the straits in any crisis. But if Turkey leaves, that won't make NATO meaningfully less secure. Turkey, on the other hand, would be. Erdogan knows this, so unless he's much crazier than he has acted (as opposed to sounded) to date, he will back down shortly after the election.

I just hope that if he does turn out to be fully crazy, NATO can get its act together long enough to kick Turkey (& possibly Hungary) out. Doing that would send a salutary message to other budding authoritarians and their supporters in generally western-aligned nations.

I don't think Erdogan or Orban could have gotten where they are now if it was made crystal clear in the early 00s that Democratic backsliding would mean expulsion from Western institutions. Most of their supporters want to have their cake and eat it too.

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