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If Putin Bails out Turkey Now He Could Fracture NATO, End Encirclement of Russia

• by Marshall Auerback

Literally bridging Europe and Asia, Turkey has long appeared to refute Rudyard Kipling's idea that "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." An EU Customs Union member with strong banking ties to the European Union, and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey has also been quite happy to involve Russia and China in its economic development. But the often delicate balancing act between these competing blocs may be thrown out of whack in the wake of the country's current economic travails.

Why? Per a tweet by Charlie Robertson, chief economist of Renaissance Capital, "Turkey is less than 0.1% of world equity markets. But #Turkey represents over 10% of NATO personnel – more than the UK and France combined – so US establishment (ie excluding Trump) will not want to lose Turkey." So even if Ankara's banking crisis does not trigger a global financial meltdown in the same manner in which, say, the Thai baht devaluation kicked off the 1997 Asian financial crisis, it may well fracture NATO's foundations.

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