Tuesday, February 11, 2003

No obligations

The Turkish Prime Minister says that Europe "owes" Turkey protection, after all Turkey protected Europe.

Well, its not quite that simple. Turkey was, presumably, anti-communist for perfectly good domestic reasons. They didn't want the communists ruling them or (and more importantly) the Russians. As Turkey's independence as a sovereign state was linked with the preservation of Western Europe's independence and the American anti-communist crusade it made sense to get together.

In short Turkish membership of NATO was in Turkey's perceived interests (as it was in Britain and America's). It was not an act of kindness or a payment for future services. The common threat has disappeared (and the Islamic terrorist threat is better combatted by police co-operation than a one for all pact). NATO's time has not only gone, but it went with the demise of the Soviet Union.

Gratitude is no way to organise a foreign policy.


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