By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
Foreign and defense policies did not figure prominently in the recent general election in Turkey. Most Turks seem satisfied with the more assertive role that their government has assumed in recent years, while Turkey’s weak opposition parties have yet to offer a coherent foreign policy alternative to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Still, Turkish leaders will not be able to escape foreign and defense issues given Turkey’s dependence on its foreign economic ties and its location as a “front-line” state bordering the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans. The situation in Syria is the most sensitive one for Turkey, and it could notably disrupt Turkey’s otherwise harmonious relations with Iran. Another crucial question is how much pull NATO will exercise over Ankara’s foreign and defense policies.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Moscow’s decision to “suspend” its compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty since December 2007 now remains one of the few visible sources of tension in the otherwise significantly improved relationship between Turkey and Russia. Yet, like other NATO countries, Turkey has sought not to bury the CFE but to praise and revive it. Turkish officials are calling for further negotiations and mutual concessions in order to restore the treaty framework. Perhaps the most immediate concern behind Turkish unease at the potential demise of the CFE regime is that it could worsen tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 3, no. 20 of the Turkey Analyst)
The reaffirmation of Turkey’s continued active membership in NATO should reassure those who have been worried that the ruling Justice and development party (AKP) is abandoning Turkey’s westward strategic ties and embracing an eastern orientation. Nonetheless, an evolution of Turkey’s strategic identity cannot be ruled out since the current Turkish government has been abandoning many other long-standing foreign policy tenets.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey has presented a unique challenge to the efforts of NATO and the EU to restructure their roles, missions, and capabilities to address Europe’s 21st-century security challenges. It is impossible to construct an effective European security architecture without addressing Turkey’s role. Yet, finding an appropriate place for Ankara in the evolving EU-NATO balance has proven exceptionally difficult given the country’s continued exclusion from the EU and the dispute between Turkey and the government of Cyprus. Turkish officials have waged a protracted battle to secure some influence on EU security decisions as well as to compel Greek Cypriots to reach a political settlement with their Turkish minority. In pursuit of these ends, they have proved willing to block EU-NATO cooperation on important security issues.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
One reason why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to skip this week’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington is that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made clear that he planned to raise the issue of Israel’s covert nuclear weapons program at the meeting. The Israeli government has long refused to confirm its possession of its widely suspected nuclear arsenal. One irony of this development is that Turkey itself is commonly recognized as having dozens of nuclear weapons stored on its territory. The most profitable non-proliferation tool in Turkey’s case would be to assure Turks that they will play an essential role in NATO’s security policies and that their preferences will have a major impact in shaping the alliance’s nuclear policies.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.