1. Turkey is not in good terms with Israel.
  2. Turkey has militancy and is persistently unstable in terms of terrorist attacks.
  3. Turkey has dictatorial regime.
  4. Turkey is negotiating with Russia or China for purchasing missile defense which could undermine NATO's security.
  5. Recently, Turkey has alienated the USA in the incidents like Coup d'etat and Syrian crisis.
  6. .... ... ...

On the other hand,

  1. USA doesn't sell arms to Pakistan or arms sales is continuously vetted.
  2. Lots of sanctions went through Pakistan latest of which is to sanction seven entities related to missile development.
  3. Almost all Western countries stopped arms sales to Pakistan.
  4. ... ... ...

What makes Turkey to continue as a major Western ally without much trouble while Pakistan is not?


2 Answers 2


This should be a comment, but I needed the space:

Lots of arguable (or false) statements / assumptions / comparations in the question:

  1. Tensions from Israel are relatively recent and still very low level from what is usual in the region. Turkey recognizes the state of Israel in its internationally recognized borders. Turkey has never been at war with Israel. Israel has never bombed objectives in Turkey. In the 90s there were joint military exercises between Turkey and Israel. In the 2009 the issue of the Gaza fleet did certainly strain relationships, but not to a breaking point.

  2. Why should Turkey be punished for suffering terrorism? Governments are punished because of state sponsored terrorism. Not when they are the victims of terrorism. Should the USA sanction France for the terrorist attacks there?

  3. Despite very legitimate doubts about Erdogan's intentions and actions, formally Turkey is still a democracy. There is a working Parliament (last elected in 2015, next elections scheduled at 2019), and working political parties. So far, while I think that future events should be closely watched, I would certainly refrain from calling it "a Dictatorship", no matter how much you dislike Erdogan.

  4. Countries happen to be free to decide whom they get their weapons from. And how "buying weapons from Russia or China" means "could undermine NATO's security" is an absolute mistery to me. India buys lots of military hardware from Russia and nobody has issues with it (except other suppliers of military hardware, of course).

  5. The coup d'etat was against Erdogan and failed. Why shoud Erdogan's government by punished by a coup d'Etat against it? And certainly there have been differences in the Syria question, but it has also offered support to the USA. Certainly, some people should certainly learn that the rest of the world is not made just of "puppets" or "enemies", differences are way more subtle.

And for the second part:

  • "Pakistan latest of which is to sanction seven entities related to missile development" There is any (serious) claim that Turkey has a program of missile development. If there is no such a claim... why should sanctions related to missile development should affect Turkey?

  • "Almost all Western countries stopped arms sales to Pakistan." Again. what is the relation?. Yes, both are Muslim countries. Should that be the motive?

And the funny thing is that you ignore some of the major, actual issues that could justify sanctions, like the continued occupation of Northern Cyprus, Turkey violating the embargo of ISIS oil or the civil rights of the Kurd minority.

  • 1
    It's a troubled situation fraught with dangerous outcomes. One other thing, Erdogan was complicit in funneling ISIS oil to the market.
    – user9790
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 13:47
  • @KDog Yes (in fact I will add it to the answer, that will make it a first). But that is far different from assuming that Pakistan and Turkey are the same thing.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 13:52
  • +1. Agreed. Can the U.S. whether the storm on Erdogan? Perhaps. Also Pakistan was complicit in funneling nuclear technology basically across the globe, a more serious offense than selling oil, as well as it's coziness with al Qaeda and the Taliban through it's intelligence apparatus.
    – user9790
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 13:58
  • nytimes.com/2004/02/12/world/…
    – user9790
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 14:07


Turkeys value is its strategic value to euroope vs. Russia. It has a long history fighting the Russians, its location is important, its armed forces can be of great value in a fight vss. Russia.

So important that Europe and nato are willing to take a different standard on turkey.

Conversely, the Russians are extra nixe. To turkey as well, as seen over the last couple years.

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