in that country’s north, Ahmet Kavas, a Turkish ambassador and close associate of Mr. Erdogan, tweeted that “Al-Qaeda is very different from terror,” and speculated that the French troops were the real terrorists.
Then in 2014, shortly before Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped almost 300 girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria, a leaked recording revealed the private secretary of Turkish Airlines telling an aide to Mr. Erdogan about his unease at the airline transporting weaponry for Islamist militants.
Late last year, a Wikileaks dump of more than 50,000 emails belonging to Berat Albayrak, Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s oil minister, suggested that Mr. Erdogan’s family profited directly from Islamic State oil. Mr. Erdogan’s son, meanwhile, was photographed meeting with a man, who at the time was a U.S. Treasury-designated al Qaeda financier.
While Turkey coasts on its reputation from decades past — and dozens of U.S. congressmen and diplomats still pay lip service to Turkey’s role in NATO or its ties to Europe — Mr. Erdogan has fundamentally changed the country. He has shed any presence of political pragmatism and supports Islamist terrorism for both ideology and profit. Nor is the problem anymore just one man: Thirteen years in power have enabled Mr. Erdogan to transform Turkish society completely. The intelligence service, police and bureaucracy are under his control. The actions in which Turkey engages are not rogue operations, but deliberate.
Simply put, Turkey has become Pakistan on the Mediterranean. Its diplomats might say the right thing about waging war on terror, but its actions suggest the opposite. By any objective standard, the State Department should designate Turkey to be a state sponsor of terrorism. Maintaining the charade of Turkish partnership is dangerous: European intelligence services have recently caught their Turkish counterparts surveilling political dissidents in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. Documents suggest Turkey may be engaged in the same behavior in the United States.
But isn’t Turkey a NATO member? Yes, but that organization should defeat terrorism, not launder it. Calibrating policy to an imaginary Turkey is easy diplomatically, but it is ultimately dangerous. It is time to face reality.