Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane over Syria has proven that the country is a liability to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and must be “ousted” from the Western military alliance, says a retired US Army General.
The shooting down of a Russian aircraft near the Syrian border was in line with Ankara’s struggle to establish itself as a “dominant” power, retired US Army Major General Paul Vallely said Thursday.
Vallely said Turkey must be removed from NATO because it poses a “big and important issue” in many ways for other members.
“I think NATO, if they have any resolve, they would oust Turkey out of NATO because they are not cooperating against ISIL, they are not cooperating at all with some of the forces inside of Syria, and they want to see [Syrian President Bashar] Assad removed or replaced by another government,” the retired General told Russia's RT.
Vallely, who served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as Deputy Commanding General, Pacific Command, said Turkey’s “unilateral action” in downing the Russian jet was also a signal to NATO, meaning that despite being a member, they would not refrain from pursuing their own interests when necessary.
“They have been that way for a long time; they are a part of it [NATO], but yet they are not,” he said.
The former US Army commander further described Turkey as an internal threat to NATO, who “will only cooperate when they have to and they will get as much out of NATO as they can” in terms of weapons and tactics.
On Tuesday, Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer jet, claiming the aircraft had repeatedly violated its air space.
Vallely said Turkey is poised to take more provocative measures in near future.
The US and NATO have expressed solidarity with Turkey after the incident, citing the country’s right to defend its airspace.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that his country will not apologize to Russia about what happened.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described Turkey’s hostile act, that killed two Russian military personnel, as a “stab in the back,” administered by "the accomplices of terrorists."
Vallely said that despite the downing of the jet, Putin still "controls the chessboard" because of his strong military presence in Syria.