Source: Strategic Culture

The question of Turkey exiting NATO is hot on the agenda. The recent emergency statement on the issue shows it’s a probable prospect.

The relationship between Turkey and the West has recently deteriorated. Turkey has been angered by what it sees as lukewarm condemnation by its Western allies of the abortive July 15-16 putsch against President Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government. The relationship has soured to the point when Ankara’s NATO membership is questioned. In an outburst following NATO’s perceived lack of backing after the failed coup, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened Turkey would «think of exit» if NATO did not step up to defend the country.

The latest example of deteriorating relations is the row over Turkish Vice Admiral Mustafa Zeki Ugurlu who served as assistant chief of staff, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk. Turkey issued an arrest warrant for Ugurlu on charges that he is affiliated with the Gulenist movement. Ankara asked NATO to terminate his posting and return him to Turkey. The Vice Admiral has applied for asylum in the United States and is now apparently missing. Turkey says Ugurlu has vital information on Gulenist subversive activities in Turkey and finds it hard to accept that he simply disappeared.

Turkey says military units that are part of NATO’s Rapid Deployable Corps-Turkey were involved in the coup attempt on July 15. It makes Ankara suspect that NATO had a role to play.

It has been reported that many officers involved had served long stints in NATO and were identified with strong pro-Western views.

Many Turkish media outlets believe that NATO was aware of the plot.

Suleyman Soylu, Turkey’s labor minister openly suggested that the US was behind the attempted takeover.

Prime Minister Binali Yidlirim put it bluntly threatening to go to war with ‘any’ country that supports Fethullah Gulen – a direct reference to the United States.

Hurriyet Daily News reported: «Anti-Americanism and Western skepticism are common phenomena among Turks. It is not limited to certain segments of the society. One would be surprised to see the intensity of anti-Americanısm and Euroskepticism among the educated elites, even the Western educated ones.» According to the newspaper, a «surprising level of anger and frustration felt against first Americans and then Europeans by the residents of Ankara».