Turkey can fool some people some time, but not all people, all the time

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking at a meeting with the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial heads.

The Turkish government is continuing its duplicitous game of playing on both sides of the fence, pretending to be the friend of both Russia and Ukraine in order to draw maximum benefit from its tightrope walk.

However, Turkey cannot keep playing this game; it’s going to fall flat on its face from the teetering tightrope. For decades, as a member of NATO, Turkey violated its principles, bought problematic weapons from Russia while acting as a member of the Western military camp, refused to support the collective decisions of the organization, and got sanctioned by the US, its NATO partner.

Turkey has played a similar erratic role as a member of the Council of Europe, violating the basic rules of the organization, including repeatedly refusing to implement decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. After all this, President Erdogan has the audacity to complain that Turkey is not allowed to join the European Union. In reality, it should not even be allowed to remain in the Council of Europe. Too bad NATO does not have a provision on expelling one of its member states. Amazingly, Turkish leaders have appealed to the United Nations (UN) to have their country become the sixth permanent member of the Security Council with a veto power. Such a thing should never be allowed. It would be the end of the UN.

In the meantime, Turkey is continuing its two-faced “neutrality” between NATO and Russia in the Ukraine war. Turkey is the only NATO member that has refused to sanction Russia and has not closed its airspace to Russian aircraft. Turkey abstained while the overwhelming majority of the Council of Europe voted to suspend Russia’s membership. Turkey then turned around and voted twice in the UN General Assembly in March in favor of a resolution condemning Russia for invading Ukraine.

Furthermore, the Turkish Ambassador to the UN, Feridun Sinirlioglu, delivered a scathing attack on Russia. Sinirlioglu said the war in Ukraine is the result of the “blatant violation” of international humanitarian law by Russia, which he described as “unacceptable.” He then added, “For our part, we will not give up on our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.” These words indicate that Turkey is not neutral in this war.

While Turkey’s ambassador at the UN was sharply critical of Russia, Turkish businessman Ethem Sancak, one of Pres. Erdogan’s closest political allies and executive board member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), visited Moscow and told the Russian RBC TV channel that Turkey’s sale of drones to Ukraine was a big mistake. Sancak also said: “We will not join in the sanctions, because if Russia falls, Turkey would get divided. And if Turkey falls, the same goes for Russia…We are allies with Russia.” Sancak described Turkey’s membership in NATO as “shameful.” He then added: “NATO is a cancerous tumor.”

In addition, “Having gained experience in sanctions busting schemes that undermined both US and UN Security Council embargoes on jihadist groups and Iran in the past, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now poised to implement a similar playbook for Western sanctions on Russia. Hoping to make money for his business cronies and aid his country’s embattled economy and finances, Erdogan apparently saw the opportunity to make a profit by offering Russians a lifeline to help overcome the restrictions and beat the sanctions,” wrote Abdullah Bozkurt in Nordic Monitor.

In order to appease Russia, Turkey rejected US suggestions to transfer to Ukraine the S-400 missile systems it had bought from Russia, which had resulted in the US imposing sanctions on Turkey. Furthermore, in recent days, several Russian oligarchs have brought their luxury yachts and private jets from Europe to Turkey to avoid western sanctions. Bahadir Ozgur, a Turkish commentator who specializes in exposing organized crime, says Turkey is the “gangsters’ heaven,” the Al-Monitor news website reported.

As a result of long-running sanction-busting activities by Turkey, the Biden administration is well aware of Turkish efforts to bail out Russia from US and EU imposed sanctions. Neither the White House nor Congress are too keen to side with Erdogan who is constantly plotting to glorify himself and his country by trying to mend its damaged relations with Europe, the US, Israel, Egypt, the UAE and Armenia.

In another failed public relations stunt, President Erdogan announced prior to last week’s NATO Summit in Brussels that he would be meeting with Pres. Joe Biden in order to create a photo opportunity intended to raise Turkey’s questionable standing in the world and his own poor rating at home.

Despite Erdogan’s intense diplomatic lobbying, Pres. Biden refused to meet with him at the NATO Summit, undermining his desire to gain positive PR from such a meeting. The White House rejected a push by the US Embassy in Ankara for such a face-to-face encounter.

Pres. Biden, who has had a long-lasting personal dislike of Pres. Erdogan because of his anti-western policies, did the right thing by not providing him with further opportunities for self-aggrandizement at a time while he continues his close relations with Russia. There is also stiff resistance in Congress to any appeasement of Turkey.

Erdogan is constantly justifying his tightrope walk between East and West by claiming that he is trying to play a mediating role in the Ukrainian war. This is yet another misleading excuse for Erdogan’s self-serving attempts to give himself and his country undeserved importance.


Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. Yeah sure the fact that a Kremlin puppet like Armenia has a big lobby in America already proves whats wrong in this country. Armenia has been silent on Ukraine, and has been a Kremlin puppet state for years now.

    • Ömer, being from Turkey that has a brutal dictator who has bankrupted the country’s economy leaving millions of Turks unemployed and starving, I advise you to worry about your own country’s survival and not worry about Armenia or any other country. We have a long history. We have had lots of ups and downs. We are survivors. You country is the successor of butchers who committed genocide against 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women a children. The same brutality was commtted against Assyrians and Greeks and now against the Kurds. Armenia is seeking peace in Ukraine. Turkey is the one that is deceitfully playing on both sides, enriching itself by selling killer Bayraktars to Ukraine, and then being the only NATO member country that has not sanctioned Russia and not closed its airspace for Russian aircraft. Remove the beam out of your eye before you worry about the speck in someone else’s eye.

    • Omer, the fact that you, a presumed citizen of Turkey, who can never make a statement other than that of praise of the current regime in your country, makes your comment, along with any comment of your fellow Turk bias and irrelevant. I am sure not all Turks are ignorant to the truth, but due to the fact that you may be arrested or tortured for saying anything other that what your overlords approve make it where the truth will never come out.

      Armenia has been silent on Ukraine as much as Ukraine was enthusiastic about Azerbaijan occupying native, historical Artsakh. You speak as though Turkey, a brutal dictatorship who jails and tortures its own people for having a different viewpoint, does not have a lobby here in the US. Not only do you have a lobby here in the US, albeit inept, you have a multinational lobby, of which you yourself are a part of. You are a lobbyist for Turkey as an internet troll, like millions of others who blabber nonsense, hoping fellow ignorant human beings will believe anything they read on the internet at face value and fact. Luckily, both Turkey and Azerbaijan spew out garbage to millions, and those who believe the nonsense you throw out there are not important members of society who will effect any change. No matter how many times you mention this nonsense, it will not be true, and those in the world with an ounce of education and dignity know the difference.

      I am going to do you a solid and give you some advice that will help you in the future, which is something I wish was done for me when I was younger and your age. As Mr. Sassounian advises, worry about your own issues and survival. Until you are well read and matured, don’t comment on ANY forum. Not a news site, social media, anything. Everything you write on the internet is archived and visible forever. Imagine what is going to happen when you get older and are trying to apply for a job or do something serious, and your future employer or friend do a quick Google search on you and this type of nonsense appears? For the time being, sit back, read, open your mind, and learn. In a few years, we can revisit the idea of you contributing amongst adults..

  2. I would like to read different opinions, but this article only has one-sided hateful opinion. S400 topic is a little deeper than you already know, related to Turkey shooting Russian warplane and not receiving the defense system it paid for from US.
    Let’s be clear, Turkey already condemned Russia, unlike Armenia. According to the FM of Ukraine, Turkey is the one helped the most in their war against Russia. I would like to see a few of your article about the following topics.
    “Armenia silent on Russian invasion of Ukraine”
    “Armenia stands alone in support for Russia in Council of Europe”
    “Turkey has said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine is unacceptable”


    • Troy, you have no idea what you are talking about. Turkey, a fake NATO member, bought a sophisticated Russian missile system which is incompatible with and dangerous to NATO jets and weapon systems. Too bad NATO does not have a procedure to kick Turkey out. You are completely wrong that Turkey did not receive the defensive system it paid for. There is no such thing. The US was willing to sell Turkey a missile system, but Turkey made such unacceptable demands that the US refused to sell. Turkey never paid a penny for it. You are confusing it with the F-35 US jets that Turkey paid for, but was not given because of US sanctions.
      Turkey condemned Russia at the UN General Assembly, but abstained at the Council of Europe to freeze Russia’s membership. Typical duplicitous Turkish behavior. You are in no position to lecture Armenia or anyone else. Turkey is not for Ukraine. It is for enriching itself and being in the pocket of Putin. What a NATO member!

    • Troy,
      Your hollow statements sound like the proverbial teapot calling the kettle black.. What does Turkey the only Muslim Turkish terrorist NATO member state in the world condemning Russia while maintaining business as usual with Russia and while all the other NATO member states condemning and applying sanctions on Russia mean to you? To me it means tricky Turks as usual are double-talkers and wolves in sheep’s clothing trying to exploit the situation in their favor at the expense of other people’s miseries. Apparently to you it means something totally different having nothing to do with reality.

      A criminal and genocidal terrorist state such as Turkey acting as peace maker? That must be the joke of the day. This is the same Turkey that has closed borders with Armenia for nearly 30 years since 1993 in support of its pseudo-Turkish criminal step-cousins with no provocations whatsoever from Armenia towards Turkey. You are either totally misinformed about Turkey or you blindly assume any country that is even remotely associated with Russia must be the enemy of Ukraine by association. How come this peace-loving Turkey did not seek peace in the South Caucasus conflict two years ago and instead not only acted against any cessation of hostilities and armed conflict but it provoked it and directly and militarily involved itself in the conflict on the side of the enemy preplanning, preparing, conducting and dictating the armed conflict itself, not to mention adding fuel to fire by transplanting Northern Syrian ISIS Muslim terrorist paid-mercenaries into the conflict zone to fight against the Armenians after Turkish terrorist-in-chief Er-dog-an was done using them against Syria’s Bashar Assad? Is this how peace keepers behave? You have a lot to learn about two-faced terrorist Turkey.

      I have great empathy for the Ukrainian population who are the main victims of this brutal war. But where was the Ukrainian leadership to condemn the brutal attack on the Armenians back in 2020 jointly by terrorist Turkey and Azerbaijan, along with several other terrorist states, and to make statements against Turkish terrorism instead of supplying deadly weapons to our enemy to use against the Armenians? As recently as a few days ago I heard a high-ranking Ukrainian official welcoming the recent flare-up in hostilities between the Armenians and the enemy, with full Turkish support, claiming that instability there will require Russian attention and troop involvement which will be helpful to Ukraine without any regards to loss of life and terrorism of the peaceful civilian population. Unless your blind statements are deliberate and that you see everything as black and white and therefore empty and hollow I would safely say you are another victim of despicable Turkish trickery!

  3. Comments you’ve made might have a nugget of truth, but your blind hostility against Turkey pushes you to such a one-sided perspective that a conscious reader can really take you seriously. It is in the same vein with anti-Armenian people here in Turkey who deem Armenia as the incarnation of pure evil. But no, younger generations do not buy this anymore, unlike some “old school” guys like yourself.

  4. Harut what do you think about Serbian Genocide ande millions christians serb exiled from their native lands mady by NAT0 EU ALL THE WEST and arab jehadist groups in balkans 90s ? IF EU UN Supports Humantarian actions Why Albania in NAT0 AND Armenia not ?

  5. Turkey will continue fooling European politicians.
    Turkey was the end of NATO … Turkey cares only for Turkey .. it will destroy or leave NATO in a second if the other choice is better for it self …

    • bro NAT0 AND EU Responsible Genocide against christians serbians for muslim bosniak and albanians while EU Recognize Kosovo and Bosnia, in ancestral Serbian lands created by ethnic cleaning by NAT0 AND EU UN and today Albania Macedonia Part of this alliance they also anti-armenian countries where is our diaspora power in europe and west wont kick those countries out of NAT0 while Armenia not member of it ?

  6. I am trying to be reasonable, but your article is entirely biased.
    The below paragraph is presented to congress by the U.S. EUCOM commander. General Tod D. Wolters, a U.S. four-star General who is sitting on Eisenhower’s chair, who has unlimited U.S. Intelligence and equipment in Europe. He is fooled, but you are fully awake. I have nothing to say. I am sorry for you and the people blindly following you. I hope you will look into the mirror someday and leave your hatred behind.
    “Turkey possesses the second largest military in NATO, borders a volatile region, and retains a pivotal role in countering Russia. The Turkish and Russian government’s relationship remains competitive and transactional, with Turkish engagement often aimed at constraining Russian behavior. Both nations view the Black Sea region within their natural spheres of influence, and each continues to oppose the other in Ukraine, Libya, and Syria. Turkey can best counter Russia through close cooperation with the U.S. and NATO. We laud Turkey’s strong support to Ukraine up to and during Russia’s invasion, and we will continue to find ways to increase our cooperation with Turkey bilaterally and within NATO”

    • Atlas, what you wrote is pure Turkish propaganda. Turkey is a double-faced country siding with Ukraine and Russia at the same time! In reality, Turkey is only for Turkey, which is natural, but Turkey is not fooling me. You want me to take the word of a military hawk or a hack? Not on your life. As the title of my article says, Turkey can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.
      By the way, the link you cited does not work.

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