An op-ed in CNN this week has called on NATO to expel Turkey if it doesn't agree to admit new applicants Finland and Sweden into the Western military alliance. Ankara has so far appeared to slam the door on the prospect, calling the Scandinavian nations "terror supporters" over the outlawed Kurdish PKK issue.
The piece by David Andelman, a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), begins by lashing out at both Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hungary's Viktor Orbán. "Russian President Vladimir Putin has just enough allies in just enough places to throw a wrench in the efforts of Western alliances to thwart his ambitions -- deepening the wedge between member states that suits his purposes to a tee," it begins.
Andelman argues that both these countries - with Turkey being NATO's second largest military behind the United States - threaten the West's unified front in standing up to Putin.
"With these kinds of useful friends in Orban and Erdogan, Putin may be perfectly positioned to continue on his current path in Ukraine or beyond -- with impunity," he writes, further calling them "lone strongmen" who have managed to "burrow their way deeply into democratic executions." It should be noted as an aside that we didn't see any anti-Erdogan arguments from Andelman as the Turkish strongman helped execute America's proxy war against Assad in Syria - in fact, quite the opposite.
Back to the present and US policy in Ukraine, Andelman questinos: "So, what to do about these toxic delays being forced by Hungary and Turkey? The answer is sadly simple -- play the same game Putin's been playing for years. When you can't win by traditional rules, go around them."
He argues for ignoring Erdogan and Orban until the inevitable diplomatic crisis among allies that is sure to ensue leads to their complete exit from NATO and the EU...
In this case, do carve-outs. Make Orban and Erdogan irrelevant. All 26 other EU members should simply implement the oil embargo. And NATO should simply pave the way for Sweden and Finland's accession.
What's the worst Hungary or Turkey could do -- sue? Pull out? There was a lot of thought given toward banishing Turkey from NATO anyway -- especially after Erdogan bought Russian S-400 air defense systems from Russia three years ago.
Quoting Harvard international relations professor Robert I. Rotberg, Andelman adds that "The 'unanimity' rule was foolish to begin with and now is the time to test it." Indeed all 30 NATO states would have to achieve consensus to admit a new member. But instead, Sweden and Finland seeking fast-tracked entry is more that likely going to result in tying NATO (and the EU, regarding the oil embargo question) up "in knots".
Some other prominent pundits, such as the below Toronto Sun columnist, have lately been arguing the same...
Expel Turkey from NATO. That should resolve multiple challenges. Until now, Turkey has been a Fifth Column of Islamism embedded within the West to undermine it. https://t.co/eSwfPMd5lf— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) May 13, 2022
With Russia's war and aggression in Ukraine being increasingly presented to the Western public as an 'existential threat' to democracy and peace, it's likely calls for isolating Turkey especially in the context of the Finnish and Swedish membership bids will only grow.