U.S. and Turkey strengthen Russia, weaken NATO – Kathimerini

The two countries with the largest armies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States and Turkey, seem to be acting to divide NATO and benefit Russia, Greek newspaper Kathimerini wrote on Friday.

“Either through carelessness or in accordance with an incomprehensible plan, the United States has contributed toward strengthening Russia and weakening NATO,” Kathimerini said. 

Trump’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria, which allowed Turkey to launch a military incursion against Kurdish forces in the war-torn country, has benefited Russia directly, it said.

European leaders must take action to preserve NATO’s unity, the newspaper added, and decide whether to use their economic and political power to limit Turkey’s behaviour.

Amid controversy, a NATO will begin on Dec. 3 next week in London. One of the topics at hand is some 50 U.S. nuclear weapons stored in the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border.

Another point of contention is Turkey’s refusal to back a defence plan for the Baltics and Poland unless the alliance recognises the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron had recently spoken about NATO’s lack of coordination, made apparent by Turkey’s highly-criticised aggression in Syria, and said the alliance had been experiencing brain death. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in turn said on Friday that Macron “should check whether (he is) brain dead.”

Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems has also caused much friction between the country and NATO as well as the United States, which maintains that the S-400s pose a security risk to U.S.-made weapons and NATO systems. 

Saying that the system poses no such risk, Turkey has recently started testing on the S-400s.