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Time to Trot Turkiye --- Out of NATO

Time to trot Turkiye out of NATO, as present-day Turkiye does not meet NATO membership values of democracy, cooperation on defense, trust amongst members, and prevention of conflict.

Values of Democracy

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949 to unite European and North Atlantic countries against the threat of the Soviet Union. Membership is open to European states in a position to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area, promote democratic values, cooperate on defense, build trust, and prevent conflict.

Turkiye (formerly Turkey) has been a member of NATO since 1952. It was a significant contributor to Allied efforts in the Korean War and acted as a bulwark against communism and the Soviet Union. At the time of joining, Turkiye was a secular country ruled by the military. Now the Soviet Union no longer exists, and Turkiye is ruled by authoritarian Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan preaches and acts against Western values and NATO. His vision is to build a new Islamic Ottoman Empire under Turkish control, which includes reconquering former countries ruled by the Ottomans, such as Greece, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. The Hagia Sophia, the grandest Christian church in the world for over one thousand years in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), was re-dedicated as a mosque in 2020. Erdogan’s Interior Minister said “we must dismantle America.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected on May 28 for his third term as President of Turkiye. His margin of victory was 52% vs. 48% due to strong support from conservative Muslims. Erdogan won despite raging inflation, devaluation of the currency, a massive earthquake and deaths of thousands, jailing of political opponents, restrictions on press freedoms, and attacks on Christianity.

Democracy in Turkiye is fading away. Erdogan said that democracy for him is a train ride. “Once I get to my stop, I am getting off.” He has gotten off and is an Islamist autocrat stifling freedom.

  1. Eric Kanter Freedom was born in Turkey and is now an American citizen who added “Freedom” to his name. The former Boston Celtic and NBA basketball star has a $500,000 bounty on his head and an arrest warrant issued by Erdogan because of Kanter Freedom’s criticism of the Erdogan regime. The NBA has blackballed Kanter Freedom because of his rhetoric against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) crimes against humanity. China is the source of billions of dollars in revenue for the NBA.

  2. Freedom House, a U.S. government-funded organization in Washington, D.C., put Turkiye in its not-free category of countries. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Turkiye 103 out of 167 for democracy. Erdogan uses anti-Western “we are against the infidels' rhetoric to whip up political support. “A Turk’s only friend is another Turk'' is taught in schools.

  3. Political opposition to Erdogan is stifled, and opponents are thrown in jail. Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was sentenced to two years in jail for calling election officials “Idiots.” There are twenty-one Kurdish mayors in prison.

  4. Journalists are thrown in jail or murdered if they criticize Erdogan. They are sued, have their press cards canceled, are under house arrest, or have international travel bans imposed. Media outlets find advertising revenues suspended, websites blocked, or forced off the air.

  5. Kurdish repression is ongoing. Approximately fifteen million Kurds live in Turkiye out of a total population of eighty million. The Kurds were promised their own nation after the demise of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in World War I, but Britain and France never kept the promise. Now Kurds are significant minorities in Tukiye, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The banned Separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was an armed Marxist group formed to establish an independent Kurdistan. It now no longer engages in armed conflict and seeks greater autonomy within Turkiye.

Cooperation on Defense


  1. Bought the Russian air defense missile system S-400 and supporting intelligence systems for $2.5 billion. They are a major threat to U.S. national security since Turkiye has the world's third largest fleet of F-16 fighter jets (after the U.S. and Israel).

  2. Invaded and now controls the northern third of Cyprus. It has purged most of the native Greeks and invited native Turks to replace them. Instead of a Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany, Cyprus now has the” Green Line” separating Turks from Greeks. The Turkish section is recognized only by Turkiye as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

  3. Conducts Gray Zone activities against fellow NATO member Greece. Turkiye flies warplanes over Greek islands and threatens to invade them.

  4. Blackballs Sweden from joining NATO because they harbor Kurdish political refugees. Erdogan demands they send the Kurdish PKK back to Turkiye for Turkish justice (an oxymoron) even though Kurds are living peacefully and not all are PKK members. A recent Quran burning in Sweden inflamed Muslim sensibilities. Expressions of free speech pertaining to Islam are not allowed in the West. Yet the Muslim world turns a blind eye to Chinese persecution of Muslim Uyghurs in East Turkistan (Xinjiang) and Hui in Yunnan, China.

Trust Among NATO Members and Prevention of Conflict

Turkiye does not instill trust and has not prevented conflict, as is noted above. It is actively engaged in thwarting U.S. interests in Syria and is playing the middleman in Ukraine - Russia War. Sanctions against Russia are being circumvented with the resulting financial windfall for Turkiye.


Turkiye does not belong in NATO. It does not meet membership values and has destabilized the Alliance. Let no one forget Turkiye’s genocide against Christian Armenians and Assyrians early in the twentieth century, where an estimated 1.5 million people were killed. Turkiye has continued with its genocides in Cyprus,Syria, and against Kurdish peoples. (Turkiye refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.)

Sweden is a Christian democracy that shares NATO’s common interests in preventing Russia from rebuilding the Soviet empire. Turkiye is an Islamic autocracy intent on building its own Islamic sultanate.

Turkiye harbors terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and assists ISIS --- all against Western interests and values.

If Turkiye continues to blackball Swedish entry into NATO, then NATO should expel Turkiye from NATO.

Time To Trot Turkiye out of NATO.

Peace Through Strength!

Author Laurence F. Sanford is a veteran of the United States Navy and the Central Intelligence Agency and now serves as Senior Analyst for the American Security Council Foundation. To learn more about the American Security Council Foundation and its work go to

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • Turkiye

  • Turkey

  • Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

  • Soviet Union

  • Eric Kanter Freedom

  • Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu

  • Kurdish repression

  • Cyprus Green Line

  • Kurdish PKK

  • Turkiye genocide

  • Sweden

  • Hamas

  • Muslim Brotherhood

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