Former US National security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has said that Turkey “will pay the price” if they don’t do what is necessary to tackle ISIS.
He further stated that Turkey “will pay the price” hinting at their removal from NATO if they do not comply with U.S. demands.
While discussing how the US should respond to the growing threat of the ISIL, Zbigniew Brzezinski told Morning Joe that Turkey is being “quite difficult” for the administration of President Barack Obama as a strategic ally because of its role in the fight against the ISIL.
Turkey’s sluggish involvement in a campaign to defeat the ISIL, which had overrun large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq last year, has been a subject of intense debate. Ankara was blamed for remaining oblivious to the flow of radical foreign fighters into Syria by using the Turkish territory. Turkey made it clear that it is unwilling to join the anti-ISIL coalition unless the campaign in Syria and Iraq is broadened to include the removal of Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
“If they cannot undertake what is necessary, they cannot become a participant in what is needed,” Brzezinski said, referring to the NATO’s only Muslim member. He said Turkey will be the one eventually paying the price and that its self-interest is involved in the matter.
Last year, nearly 100 Turkish citizens were taken as a hostage by the ISIL and more than 30 of them, including Turkey’s Mosul Consul General and a dozen special forces, remained captive for more than three months. Media reports said Ankara saved the hostages through a prisoner-exchange deal. Turkey neither denied nor confirmed the speculations.
Earlier this week, Turkish media cited a Turkish intelligence report that warned against 3,000 ISIL militants in Turkey, who are planning attacks on sensitive targets. The reports did little to stir a debate over the matter and the disucssions surrounding it were almost muted.
Brzezinski said the US has to obviously negotiate with its ally Turkey and do specific things to help them. “The key point that I have in mind is that strategically we are not the chief protagonist in the region,” he said, adding that the US will become even “more hated” in the region that is the case today if the US becomes the sole combatant in the area.
The former US official said Washington has to draw a list of needs of its allies to discuss what they can do and “help them whatever the way we can.”
After all, Brzezinski said, the countries in the region are the ones who are threatened the most directly. “The worst thing we can do is to become the sole combatant against the forces of evil that operate in that region. We have to avoid any direct collision with the world of Islam; we must label the enemy as Islamists and we must work with those governments that prepare to defend themselves,” Brzezinski said.