In the 112th Congress, more than 150 congressmen have signed up for the “Caucus on US Turkish Relations & Turkish Americans,” more commonly called the Turkey Caucus. Once upon the time, such membership might have been a no-brainer: Turkey was not only a NATO member, but also an ally in the war against terrorism. Turkey empowered women; it did not purge them from public service.
No longer. Turkey may still be a NATO member, but it seldom battles for the same goals, even in Afghanistan. And as for terrorism, the Turkish government has become part of the problem rather than the solution. Each and every member of the Turkey Caucus should watch this video of the Turkish ruling party welcoming the leader of Hamas, and this clip of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking candidly in the years before he took the premiership, and ask whether this is the man and the government they want to be endorsing. Here is Erdoğan telling Charlie Rose that Hamas rocket attacks are a hoax, and Bülent Yildirim, a friend of Erdoğan and the head of the charity behind the Gaza flotilla, praising Hamas.
Under such circumstances, representatives like Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia), Steven Cohen (D-Tennessee), Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), and Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky), just to single out the co-chairs, should explain why it is that they are working in Congress to back up a government and, frankly, a political party that has been offering aid and comfort so overtly to a terrorist group that has promised genocide against Jews and has also targeted Americans. Perhaps it is time for each and every member of the Congressional Turkey Coalition to ask whether their endorsement of Turkish policies now does more harm than good.