Key Points

During remarks previewing the State Department’s new report, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named China, Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela as among the worst violators but chose not to highlight Turkey’s abuses. This represents a missed opportunity to raise awareness about how a NATO member state’s persistent abuses are undermining the shared values on which the alliance rests. Washington should condemn Ankara for its egregious human rights violations and start issuing Global Magnitsky sanctions against the architects and perpetrators of arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, or systematic torture in Turkey.

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Clifford D. May is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.

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Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said last month during a congressional hearing that Tehran is the top state sponsor of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

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The case against Halkbank has been a longstanding point of tension in the increasingly fraught relationship between Ankara and Washington. If Halkbank decides to acquiesce and appear in court, the highly publicized case is likely to further tarnish the reputation of the Erdogan government and strengthen accusations that Turkey has become a permissive jurisdiction. If the public lender insists on its civil contempt of court, this might ultimately sever its ties with the U.S. financial system, hurting not only the bank but also Turkey’s increasingly fragile financial sector.

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The Moscow talks show that 2020 will continue the trend of deepened cooperation between Erdogan and Putin. Turkey purchased the S-400 missile defense system from Russia last summer, much to the chagrin of the international community, as well as negotiated a ceasefire following Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria this past October. Their partnership in this new arena demonstrates that despite being on opposite sides of the fighting in Syria and Libya, the Turkish and Russian presidents have an uncanny ability to cut deals. However, it is unclear whether these bargains can hold, and thereby remedy Erdogan’s troubles at home and abroad.

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