American troops are stationed in Turkey and protecting it with defense systems, yet even as the U.S. does this Turkey demands that the U.S. not provide any protection to Israel with the same troops. This is another sign the NATO nation is an unreliable ally and increasingly hostile to the U.S and its interests.
A recent attack on U.S. sailors inside Turkey drew media attention. This media attention also served as a reminder that U.S. and other NATO troops are serving in Turkey in defense of it:
It was not the first time the TGB has harassed allied NATO soldiers visiting Turkey. Last year, members of the same group physically confronted German soldiers who had been deployed along with a Patriot missile battery that had been requested by the Turkish government to protect border cities from the threat of aerial attacks from neighboring Syria. During that incident, the group also reportedly tried to put bags over the German soldiers’ heads.
A Stars and Stripes report from early August expands on what role the U.S. is playing in the defense of Turkey:
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Spc. Kayla Eckman has protective eyes over this city of 1.5 million people, guarding against any incoming missiles from Syria, which lies just over the horizon. . . .
At the U.S. Patriot missile site in southern Turkey, Eckman’s job is to monitor a high-tech tracking screen for any sign that the war in Syria might creep into Turkey. If a missile threatens Turkish airspace, it’s the 23-year-old Eckman’s job to spot it. . . .
For a year and a half, U.S. soldiers have been guarding the airspace from a Turkish army base in this city about 40 miles from the Syrian border in response to a security request from Turkey. In late 2012, NATO defense ministers authorized the deployment of Patriots following cross-border shelling from Syria that killed several Turkish citizens. Patriot batteries from Germany and the Netherlands have been deployed to other parts of southern Turkey in support of the mission.
Yet even as the U.S. provides its troops and equipment to Turkey for its safety, Turkey demands that the U.S. not use any of the troops or assets in Turkey to protect or assist Israel, another U.S. ally. Hurriyet Daily News reported in early August that, “Radar in Turkey not linked to Israel’s security: NATO top commander”:
Amid rising criticism from Turkey’s opposition about the possible use of the Kürecik Radar Base for Israel, NATO’s top commander clarified its mission as “strictly for European Security.”
General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, on a fieldtrip to the Patriot Systems based in the Gen. Ataman Garrison in Gaziantep, told CNN Türk the Kürecik Radar Base in the eastern province of Malatya is a part of the “phase-adaptive approach for Europe’s Missile Defense.”
“It is an American supplied radar that is offered to NATO to be a part of the European phase-adaptive approach Missile Defense of Europe. That is what it is there for,” Breedlove said, “Soon, you will see a radar built in Romania and another in Poland. And after that, all of these radars will be lashed together to provide for the missile defense of Europe.”
On top of all this Turkey has been reluctant, at best, to help fight against the Islamic Caliphate. It also is a significant source of Islamic jihadists and other anti-American sentiment.
The U.S. will not abandon official ties or alliances with Turkey in the foreseeable future, but at the same time Turkey will continue being an unreliable ally and will grow increasingly hostile to the U.S. and its interests, including its relationship with Israel. This will be yet another challenge for U.S. leaders in a world that is becoming more violent and anti-Western.