Within the Month: Turkey-NATO confrontation

Written 31 July 2016

This post is simply an extension of my most recent article, How Turkey’s eastward shift may progress, and you can simply read it if you want to understand my rationale. So whatever events have happened from the time I wrote that post until now, you can consider me to have successfully predicted it. Nevertheless, I will write this and it will be fairly short.

Protests began near Incirlik Air Base recently, with participants demanding the closure of the base. Although there were claims that the protest was because of the fact that Incirlik was the center of the coup, the reality is much different. Incirlik is the only AFB in Turkey with a US presence, and many Turks believe that the Americans were behind the most recent coup attempt. And I predicted in the article I introduced: “Challenges may then be made to NATO bases, including in Incirlik AFB.”

It appears that the protest movement was promoted by ISIS, upon my research. Many ISIS accounts of Twitter which I found were promoting the images that protest organizers have been using, and the images are stylistically very similar to other graphics produced by ISIS. Indeed, there was a recent incident where US Air Force allegedly killed many civilians in the Manbij area. This served as the emotional rallying cry that ISIS has been leveraging.

Indeed, just recently, Turkish police have apparently surrounded Incirlik. This is no doubt going to cause consternation in NATO. As the conflict over Gulen’s extradition continues, and as anti-Americanism rises in Turkey, so too will conflicts between Turkey and its NATO allies. The United States will be forced to decide between abandoning Gulen, or encouraging Turkish anger. This decision will decide the future of Turkey-NATO relations.