Turkey is a capable and indispensable, but also a complex and difficult member of NATO. On 1 February, ICDS research fellow Kalev Stoicescu and independent researcher Hille Hanso, authors of the first research paper by the ICDS that is focused on Turkey, presented their insights and opinions on Turkey’s future and whether it is possible to bring Turkey closer to the West.
Turkey has changed – its foreign policy is heavily influenced by domestic politics and is an instrument of the government, noted Hanso while introducing the discussion by giving an overview of the current domestic atmosphere and political landscape in Turkey. However, Hanso also said that the analysts should not glorify the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
There’s continuous lack of consistency in Turkish foreign policy – Turkey is a middle power that seeks to act as a global one. On the other hand, it counts mostly on regional partners and sees regional instability and conflicts as well as terrorism as biggest threats.
Another aspect that was brought forward is solid public support for NATO in Turkey – 58 percent of Turkish people think it is very important to be in NATO, although Turkey has mixed attitudes and conflicting views with many Allies and there’s quite widespread anti-Americanism, fused into scepticism towards the West in general. Likewise, the relations with Russia are ambiguous – Turkey collaborates with Russia but does not see Russa as a strategic partner.
The authors noted that the way forward in relations with Turkey is rather a moderate approach and dialogue. Relations with Turkey and NATO-EU should be more institutionalised again, not personalised as now, Stoicescu concluded.