American Pundit Ariel Cohen: Russia Is Successfully Prying Turkey Out of NATO Orbit!
Ariel Cohen is live with us.
— Hello, Ariel. I'm happy to hear from you.
— What do you think is going on? Why is there such a policy with respect to Turkey? How do they plan their steps? Especially given the potential and intensifying confrontation with Iran, which is expanding its programs for uranium enrichment. To do any action in that region without Turkey will be quite difficult. Why are they pushing Turkey away?
Ariel Cohen, Forbes columnist (USA):
— There have long been issues with Turkey. I well remember being at the meeting with Erdogan's adviser for national security in 2002 or 2003, it was very long ago, when he disclosed the plans of the Islamist party AKP, Erdogan's party, to us. They wanted to separate Turkey from the West. It was a long meeting. It lasted three or four hours. Leaving it, I felt sick because it was clear that people think beyond the existing foreign political paradigms and want to reprofile Turkey and make a certain political pole of it, to revive it, make Turkey great again and return to some Neo-Ottoman principles.
Everything that we see, including the events that took place a year after that meeting… There was a war in Iraq. And Turkey refused to let American troops go through Turkey to Northern Iraq. You should remember that. It all began then. Why? It's because the main incentive for Turkey to be a NATO member was the existence of and the threat from the Soviet Union. Turkey perceived it so. As soon as the Soviet threat ceased to exist, there wasn't any reason for Turkey to be attached to America and NATO any longer. When Erdogan came to power, with his ideology comprising of Islamism like that of the Muslim Brotherhood and the idea of the greatness of the Ottoman Empire. Clearly, it contained conflict from the very beginning. It's mainly an ideological and historical conflict but not a momentary one.
That's why Nikolay Vasilievich is right that there were problems with Gülen. And the pressure was very strong. Turkey tried to use Trump's first NSA, Michael Flynn. But the situation is much worse. Trump hopes that he'll somehow agree with Erdogan without escalating the conflict. But I can say, and put my name on it, that Turkey won't help the U.S. conduct a war against Iran, just as they didn't help the U.S. but rather made obstacles for it during the war with Iraq.
I don't know how it can be solved. Turkey is likely to remain a NATO member because there's no procedure for the expulsion of a member from NATO. If it wants to withdraw, it'll manage to do so. In the 60s, France withdrew from military organizations but remained a member of political organizations, by the way. But this is a very serious crisis. First of all, this is a crisis of Turkey's self-identity. After 17 years under the Islamist party AKP, will Turkey remain a part of the West and NATO or not? This is a very important question for Turkey itself.
My second point is that what can become a crisis between the U.S. and Turkey now, and Russia is a part of it, of course, but does Russia need it? Does Russia need another foreign political problem or issue, which can result in another conflict with the U.S.?
— We'll take a break now. I'll say whether Russia needs it. Nobody usually asks Russia because Russia quietly sells weapons on the market, genuinely thinks that all those who want to buy them. After all, it isn't Russia that introduces sanctions against countries that want to buy American weapons. It's America that puts pressure on the countries that want to buy Russian weapons, so Russia treats it as a common thing. It's surprised a little but, to put it mildly, we are already used to everything.
Stay with us.