On Sunday Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan made a bizarre statement that sounded like the kind of hysterical claptrap that normally emanates from Colonel Gaddafi or Fidel Castro:
NATO should only enter Libya to determine that Libya belongs to Libyans and not to distribute its natural resources and richness to others," Erdogan said, speaking in Saudi Arabia. He said the operation must not turn into an occupation.
Ooh, we want to "distribute its natural resources and richness to others"! It's all about stealing their oil! And sand! The fact that the prime minister of a country can make such a daft remark shows how far from western norms his country now is.
The Turkish defence minister also made some strange and insulting remarks about France:
Signaling further discord within NATO, Turkey's Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul criticized the prominent role played by fellow-member France in the U.N.-mandated intervention.
"It seems impossible for us to understand France being so prominent in this process. We are having difficulty in understanding it being like the enforcer of United Nations' decisions," Turkey's Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul told reporters.
It should be clear to any reasonable person that the time has come to expel Turkey from NATO, where it is now more of a liability than a help. This is not the first time that Turkey has been obstructive within NATO. It consistently blocks plans for EU-NATO cooperation and also threatened to veto Anders Fogh Rasmussen's appointment as NATO Secretary-General because of the stance he had previously taken on the Muhammad cartoons issue when he was Danish Prime Minister!
On the prospect of EU membership, too, Turkey's siding with Gaddafi, obstructing NATO action and insulting France has to have repercussions. French President Sarkozy has quietly opposed Turkey's membership of the EU but it is not enough to him to slow down the process of opening chapters. He needs to man up and terminate the application process outright.