Over the past several months, the Turkish government has become increasingly antagonistic to the United States and its allies, most notably redoubling its embrace of Hamas, and threatening to use military force against both Israel and Cyprus. Turkey refuses to accept a universal definition of terrorism, and instead argues that terrorism perpetrated against the Jewish state is legitimate. Egemen Bağış, a minister and close aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has gone so far as to suggest that Al Qaeda is not Turkey’s concern.
Rather than let Erdoğan know that incitement, anti-American rhetoric, embrace of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and legitimization of terrorist groups has a cost, President Obama has instead decided to provide our most advanced military technology to Turkey. Late last week, the White House formally notified Congress of the Obama administration’s intention to supply Turkey with cutting edge military technology. Turkey says it wants Super Cobra Helicopters and Predators to fight Kurdish terrorists, but given Turkey’s threats to Israel and Cyprus, Congress must exercise its oversight.
If Turkey wants American weaponry to fight terrorism, Congress should demand Turkey first:
- Acknowledge that sympathy to a terrorist group’s cause does not legitimize its terrorism.
- State clearly that Hamas, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah are terrorist groups
- Repair its relationship with Israel and Cyrpus and explain Minister Bağış’s threats to use Turkish weaponry against America’s Middle Eastern and European allies.