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Does Turkey belong in Nato?

Erdogan and Putin in 2020. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty

Nato members are unanimous about welcoming Finland and Sweden into the security organisation, say Joe Lieberman and Mark Wallace in The Wall Street Journal. With one exception: Turkey, which is trying to veto the plan. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the two Nordic nations harbour Kurdish terrorist groups. But that shaky claim is “political, parochial and irrelevant to the decision”. We should really be asking if Turkey, which joined Nato back in 1952, still makes the grade for membership.

While other alliance members have shown “steadfast resolve” since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Erdogan has provided “little more than noisy diplomacy”. Sure, a Turkish defence firm has supplied Ukraine with lethally effective drones – but that deal was signed before the war began. Since Russia’s invasion, Erdogan has refused to join Nato members’ sanctions against Moscow “and allowed Turkey to become a haven for Russian oligarchs, bank accounts and investments”. He even bought a missile-defence system from Russia in 2017. And it’s doubtful that Erdogan’s Turkey meets the “democratic requirements” demanded of new Nato members: under his rule, a “once-rambunctious” domestic media has become a state propaganda organ, “women’s rights have been trampled”, and minorities “face daily persecution”. Nato underestimated Putin’s “malign intent” for decades. “The alliance runs the risk of repeating the same mistake with Erdogan.”