“If the internal stress in the U.S. goes on like this, the possibility of another 9/11 is not all that remote,” wrote columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak in Yeni Akit, a paper close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his political party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Such threats and incitement may sound strange coming from a NATO member, but they have become the new normal in Turkey.
In 2004, Metal Storm, a fictionalized account of war between Turkey and the United States, shot to the top of Turkey’s bestseller list. The Turkish newspaper Radikal wrote that “the Foreign Ministry and General Staff are reading it keenly” and “all cabinet members also have it.” After a U.S.-based energy firm began drilling in Cyprus’s waters in September 2011, Turkish Minister Egemen Bagis warned, “This is what we have the navy for. We have trained our marines for this; we have equipped the navy for this. All options are on the table; anything can be done.” More recently, Erdogan threatened U.S. forces in Syria with an “Ottoman slap.” Both Dogu Perincek, an intellectual godfather of the Turkish military, and Adnan Tanriverdi, Erdogan’s military counselor, are both fiercely anti-NATO.
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