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The Turkish acquisition of the S-400 anti-aircraft system, the illegal surveying and drilling in Cypriot waters, and the supporting the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization are just a few reasons that require American intervention. Although the past pressure has had an impact on the Turkish economy, it seems they were hardly enough to keep Turkey from continuing to go down the same path.

Voices on Capitol Hill have warned that applying harsh sanctions in response to the S-400 acquisition, for instance, will backfire – “it will only drive Turkey further into Russian arms”, they say. The geo-political climate in the region has changed and that claim does not hold any water these days. It is time for the United States to apply more pressure on Turkey. We, as the strongest nation in the world, should step up in order to promote regional stability, protect our interest in the region, and protect our allies.

(July 2nd, 2020 / )

Over the past few months, the tensions between Moscow and Ankara have risen tremendously. For starters, Russia and Turkey, backing opposite sides in the Syrian civil war, have been digging themselves deeper and deeper in Syria. As the weeks go by, more reports surface of convoys being hit by the opposite side and executed air raids hitting the other’s forces.

Similarly, the two countries are heavily invested in the Libya civil war as well. Russia had hope to replicate its recipe from Syria; support a side in the civil war and win energy contracts in return. But it was Turkey who beat them to it in Libya, and managed to secure oil agreements with the GNA, backed by the UN. This obviously is not seen favorably back in the Kremlin.

To top those off, it was recently reported that Turkish companies have amassed a $2 billion to Gazprom, a company mostly owned by the Russian state. It hardly seems as though Russia has neither patience nor desire to grant Turkey any more credit that his given them already. It is time for the United States to crank up the pressure on Turkey before this becomes a bigger problem.

Undoubtedly, Turkey is looking at the collapsing economies or Iran and Lebanon as a result of American sanctions, and hoping it does not end up like them. The Iranian Lira and the Lebanese Pound have been consistently losing their value. As it is, the Turkish Lira has been devalued and the Turkish economy suffered over the past few years, forcing Erdogan to appoint his son in-law as the Minister of Finance. Erdogan can’t afford for his economy to continue spiraling downward – especially during the current climate of a worldwide economic crisis, and being so heavily invested in two civil wars abroad. It is about time the United States wakes up and realizes once and for all that Turkey well might be officially on the rosters as a NATO ally, but it has not been behaving like a NATO ally ever since Erdogan took over the presidency.

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About the Author

Benjamin Weil
Benjamin Weil is Director of the Project for Israel’s National Security at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). He formerly served as the international adviser to Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of Israel’s Security Cabinet.

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