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.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
By dint of geography and its strategic relations, Turkey has assumed a pivotal role in Europe’s future ballistic missile defense (BMD) architecture. The United States has been lobbying Ankara to participate in its program within a NATO framework, while Iran and Russia have encouraged Turkey to keep its distance from Washington’s BMD plans. Turkish officials have strived to balance these competing forces while leveraging them to advance Turkey’s own regional security interests.
By Richard Weitz (vo. 7, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
The severe domestic problems of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are placing a major burden on Turkey-U.S. relations. His authoritarian tendencies and proclivity to blame everyone, including the United States, for his challenges has made it increasingly difficult for the Barack Obama administration to keep silent about his democratic and human rights setbacks. These challenges will likely only increase in coming months.
By John Daly (vol. 6, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
While the Islamist ideology of Turkey’s ruling party makes it unlikely that the relations between Turkey and Israel can be restored in a way that fulfills the expectations of the United States, there are also some signs that suggest that something of a working relation between Jerusalem and Ankara, based on mutual economic interests, can still be established. Trade can potentially serve as an ice-breaker between the two nations.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 6, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish decision to choose a Chinese anti-missile system demonstrates Turkey’s ambition to forge an independent defense identity. It is another indication that the ruling Islamic conservatives do not feel indebted to the United States. But the decision is also a reminder that the Turkish generals no longer do America’s bidding. Western policymakers who are angered by the Turkish decision to go Chinese in missile defense would do well to ask if the assumptions that have guided their policies toward Turkey during the last decade may have been flawed.
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.