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Erdogan and Putin Are Similar, and Bad

Reader comment on item: Two Bullies, Putin and Erdo─čan, Try Friendship

Submitted by Dave, Dec 27, 2016 at 15:41

Both Erdogan and Putin fight "terrorists" only as long as those "terrorists" threaten their own power: For Putin, the Chechens and other opponents of Russian rule from the Caucasus; for Erdogan, the Kurds or Gulen. They both style themselves as defenders of international order, but their actions are strictly self-serving and are harmful to Western interests and values.

The Turkish attacks against Kurds, a group which has become increasingly secular and pro-Western, extend beyond Turkey's borders and undermine an important ally in Syria and Iraq. While Kurdish terror attacks inside Turkey are indeed horrible, Erdogan has ignored Kurdish rights in favor of repression. His opposition to Gulen is obsessive and betrays his paranoia. In addition, Wikileaks has revealed his past aid to ISIS, something unsurprising for an Islamist.

Meanwhile, Putin's claim to anti-terror virtue is belied by Russia's strategic alliance with Iran and its proxies in Syria. Russia has sold its most advanced anti-aircraft radar to Iran to help protect Iran's arsenal and nuclear program. Russia's alliance with the world's leading sponsor of terrorism shows that the collapse of Communism has not changed her traditional anti-Western animus and trouble-making bent.
The best approach to both powers should be neutrality in their disputes and active containment.


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