U.S. Must Work to Rebuild Ties With Turkey

August 31, 2016

If Russia pulls Turkey further into its sphere of influence, today’s crises will look like a picnic compared with what would take their place.
Sohrab Ahmari captures what’s at stake in “Keeping Turkey in the U.S. Orbit” (op-ed, Aug. 29) when he writes that “the relevant question for the American national interest is how to prevent this strategically crucial country from drifting further toward Russia’s orbit and away from the U.S.-led security order.”

While Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart in Turkey are mending fences, Western officials are waffling by allowing Russia to pull Turkey closer while openly questioning Turkey’s NATO membership just one month after a bloody coup attempt shook the country to its core.

When President Obama meets with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week, he must remember that Mr. Putin is eager to exploit any cracks in the relationship. As the fallout with the West drags on, Turkey could react by embracing Russia—the wolf scratching at its door, which would like nothing more than to distance Turkey from the West.

If Russia pulls Turkey further into its sphere of influence, today’s crises will look like a picnic compared with what would take their place, further entrenching Russian power at a time when our allies and interests in Europe are under assault as never before.

Halil I. Danismaz

President

Turkish Heritage Organization

Washington