No, the West Should Not Appease Erdogan

Overlooking the severity of Erdogan’s acts of governance in order to find a way to work with Turkey fundamentally undermines the objectives the West is seeking to achieve and uphold.

Arecent piece by Maximillian Hess in Foreign Policy magazine stumped many Turkey watchers, including myself, in stating that Turkish president Recep Tayyip “Erdogan is an unsavory character and will likely remain one. But it is in the West’s interest that he be on its side—not Russia’s—in order to weaken Putin and ensure Ukraine’s survival. The opportunity is there, and it would be unwise of the West not to try.” The article’s logic, as can be inferred by the quote, rests on the premise, that, yes, Erdogan is a bad actor, but given everything that is going on, we should find a way to work with him. This attempt to appease a malevolent actor should not be the standard that the West aspires to in trying to achieve its objectives for one very simple reason: it will not work.

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