In an opinion piece, Bloomberg’s editorial board writes that Turkey is an increasingly erratically that is no longer worth the risks.
”For the past few years, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has railed ever more belligerently against the U.S., Europe, and NATO, Washington’s foreign-policy establishment has argued for patience. Erdogan’s fusillades, mostly intended for domestic consumption, were thought to be a small inconvenience — certainly not enough for the West to abandon Turkey. Alas, the time has come to acknowledge a greater inconvenience: Turkey has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the West.”
Referring to Cyprus Bloomberg writes that Turkey has escalated tensions with Europe by sending natural-gas exploration vessels into the eastern Mediterranean waters claimed by Cyprus. ”The EU is already in the process of freezing high-level contacts with Turkey and has started to cut off its financial aid. Since Ankara has scoffed at such measures, the Europeans should go further and impose sanctions against Turkish companies involved in offshore drilling in the eastern Mediterranean. That should discourage further maritime adventurism.”
”These are deliberate provocations,” the op-ed argues.
According to Bloomberg, the US has ”a long menu of sanctions to choose from, including freezing the assets of top officials, blocking large loans to Turkey, or cutting it off from the U.S. financial system entirely. The aim should be to start with restraint but to quickly ratchet up the penalties unless Erdogan rethinks his miscalculation and verifiably mothballs the Russian equipment.”
Voicing criticism, Bloomberg indicates that ”Turkey could have opted to buy NATO-approved missile systems with comparable capabilities. It might’ve allowed the European Union to mediate in the Mediterranean matter. Instead, Erdogan seems to have calculated that, with American influence on the wane in the neighborhood, his security interests are better served by an alliance with Russia and that President Donald Trump will give him a free pass for switching sides. He seems also to believe that the West won’t have the stomach to impose significant penalties.”
Addressing the issue of NATO bases in Turkey and the presence of strategic nuclear weapons Bloomberg reports that ”NATO commanders have been casting around the Middle East for alternative locations for these bases. The arrival of the S-400 systems should speed up their search”, calling for the West to move on without Erdogan.