12/18/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Earlier this week, two leading members of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee released a joint statement condemning Turkey’s recent actions as undermining the NATO alliance. In the statement, Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) expressed their concern that Turkey’s actions under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are endangering “the NATO alliance, the broader region, and democracy and the rule of law in Turkey.”
This statement comes just days after the Trump Administration imposed new sanctions against Turkey over their purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. These sanctions fall within a greater pattern of strains in the US-Turkey bilateral relationship, listed by Engel and McCaul. The two congressmen also cite human rights violations by groups supported by Turkey in northern Syria, exacerbating an existing humanitarian crisis caused by the civil war and ISIS.
The statement also mentions Turkish involvement in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, during which Turkey reportedly sent Syrian mercenaries to fight against the Armenian forces. There are also emerging reports that some of these mercenaries are former ISIS fighters.
Although NATO has largely remained silent on Turkey’s transgressions in Nagorno-Karabakh, this statement from two prominent U.S. congressmen does not bode well for Turkey’s status in the alliance.
This month, ICC released a report outlining Turkey’s actions against Christians both domestically and in its involvement in foreign conflicts. With more light being shed on Turkey’s human rights abuses, President Erdogan’s government needs to tread more lightly to preserve its valuable alliance with the West.