U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made crucial comments during the Munich Security Conference when he declared: "The West is winning; we are winning all together," underlining that a bright future is in store for the free West.
The U.S. made an appearance at the Munich Security Conference with three secretaries, 18 senators and 39 members of Congress. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was also in attendance, gave a speech and attended several bilateral meetings. One of these meetings was with U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham. Though Graham previously criticized Turkey's military operation in Syria, at this meeting, he was in full support of Turkey in Idlib. Graham stated that President Donald Trump has to consider all the options on the table.
There are a lot of unknowns about Idlib. With news of Russia and the Bashar Assad regime killing innocent civilians every day, the question is whether there could be an entente between Turkey and Russia or whether the West will side with Turkey.
Turkey has the chance to rekindle the U.S.-Turkish relations in light of the aggressive policies of Russia toward Turkey. However, by stating, "We cannot interfere in Idlib, they should solve that problem themselves," Robert O"Brien, the national security adviser, indicated that the U.S. will not be of much help to Turkey apart from providing messages of support.
The U.S., the E.U. and the United Nations need to apply pressure on Russia and the Assad regime to prevent them from having free rein. Otherwise, Assad is about to turn Idlib into a bloodbath.
The U.S. has passed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act through Congress, and Trump has approved it under the National Defense Authorization Act. There are some serious economic sanctions awaiting Syria; however, the bill will not come into force until June.
Regardless of Pompeo's declaration that "the West is winning," the silence of the West in the face of the inhuman tragedies taking place in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Crimea, and China leads one to think. The European Union seems to still follow a policy of "out of sight, out of mind" with fear of the refugees showing up at their door. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) statistics, the E.U. accepted 96,000 refugees in 2018, of whom 67,000 ended up in Germany. At the same time, only 2.5 billion euros ($2.71 billion) of the 6 billion euros pledged by the EU has been released to Turkey. All that said, no matter how you look at it, there is insufficient support in every sense.
68 years in NATO
Turkey, which has made significant contributions to NATO, the most powerful military alliance in the international field, will be completing its 68th year in the alliance this week. For 68 years, Turkey has continued to be one of the most powerful and influential members of NATO through its influence as well as its geostrategic position and significant contributions to the alliance as the second-largest army in the alliance. While this statement is true, everyone knows that many NATO members are abandoning Turkey in its fight against terrorism in the region.
It is hard to imagine a NATO without Turkey or a Turkey without NATO. That is why Turkey's role in NATO is very important also as a bridge between East and West. To preserve the world's faith in the West and the transatlantic partnership, the West needs to protect human values without discriminating by race, religion or language.
Let's see which countries will respond to Turkey's unwavering plea for solutions in the coming days.
* President of the Turkish Heritage Organization and a 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient
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