Turkey is simultaneously one of the most important and worst of U.S. and NATO allies.

Most recently, it denied transit to two British minehunters that would have disabled Russian munitions and helped transport Ukrainian grain.

Last year, Turkey annoyed the West with a tanker blockade of its straits.

Turkey joined NATO in 1952. At the seat of the old Ottoman Empire, it plays a critical role as an influential civilizational center and one of America’s few close Muslim allies. Since 1955, the U.S. Air Force has operated an airbase in Turkey at Incirlik, flying spy and fighter missions critical to countering threats from Russia, Iran, and terrorists.

Yet, at a critical time for NATO expansion to Finland and Sweden, Turkey raised stumbling blocks and attempted to leverage its veto to get parochial concessions, such as against alleged Kurdish terrorists, and the lifting of military export restrictions, including of F-16 and F-35 fighters from the United States.

Turkey is a relatively poor country that relies on cheap Russian oilwhich it attempts to purchase at a 25 percent discount, refine, and then reexport as Turkish-origin gas at market rates.