Maximilian Hess

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference in Tirana, Albania on Jan. 17. GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images

The democratic West has a long and controversial history of entering alliances of convenience with dictators and strongmen around the world—unsavory but necessary partners in confronting threats to the international order. Denounced as ethically dubious, this sort of stance is also realist, balance-of-power politics par excellence. It enabled the world to unite to defeat Adolf Hitler in World War II and the West to win the Cold War.

Atop the list of unsavory partners the West urgently needs better relations with today sits Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That he is unsavory is clear: He has actively undermined Turkish democracy, undone decades of liberalization, weaponized migration, terrorized the Kurdish minority both at home and in neighboring Syria, and helped Iran violate U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »