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Turkey Foreign Policy

International memberships

Turkey is a member of numerous international organizations

  • UN: 1945
  • NATO: 1952 (before Germany)
  • Council of Europe: 1949
  • OECD: 1961
  • OIC: 1969
  • CSCE / OSCE: 1973
  • EU customs union: 1996
  • EU candidate country: 2005

Paradigm Shift in Foreign Policy

Security as a strategy

Based on the experiences towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, when the “sick man on the Bosporus” was a plaything of the European powers, the successor state Turkey viewed the neighboring neighbors as potential enemies who want to call the territorial unity of the country into question again. “The Turk’s best friend is the Turk” was the message. The aim of the foreign policy efforts was directed towards security.

Soft power

With Ahmet Davutoglu, a new era in foreign policy dawned. While some previously considered “Turkey as an actor with strong muscles, a weak stomach, heart problems, low self-esteem and a deficit on strategic thinking” (A. Davutoglu), Turkey has sought with its new soft-power strategy, international influence to That is why their role was designed to be increasingly dynamic and based on current developments. The focus was on the “No problems with the neighbors” approach and this was reflected in numerous bilateral collaborations in economic, cultural, security and development policy terms Region wanted Turkey to be the engine of the taking place to prove transformation processes. It failed to do this in the countries of the Arab Spring, while its influence in the Turkic states, Pakistan and Afghanistan is growing. The relationship with Russia is ambivalent and tense. It is currently becoming explosive with the march of Turkish troops into Afrin, Syria. It remains to be seen how Russia will position itself as Assad’s representative. Cooperation with the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan has also become problematic due to the arming of the Peshmerga fighters against IS and the renewed PKK attacks from Iraq.

International evaluation

The assessment of the foreign policy approach changes depending on the viewpoint and interests of the observer. While some have long praised Turkey as a democratic beacon, saw it as a stable and reliable ally and considered the synthesis of Islam and democracy to be a success, others are suspicious of the internationally oriented endeavors. There is talk of neo-Ottomanism, a revival of imperial intentions as in Ottoman times is assumed as a motive. On the one hand, Turkey is used as a model for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, on the other hand, fears are expressed that the pro-Arab foreign policy means a simultaneous turning away from Europe. Indeed, Turkey is in foreign policy too have become a globally active player.

Current agenda

The list of foreign policy issues is long and complex:

  • Establishment of a security zone on Syrian territory: invasion of northern Syria, Operation Source of Friendship;
  • Coming to terms with the genocide against the Armenians and improving the relationship between the two countries
  • Revitalizing the EU accession process and working with the EU to tackle the refugee crisis
  • Admission of 4 million refugees from the Syrian and Iraqi civil war areas
  • Relationship to the Kurds in the “Kurdistan” autonomous region in Northern Iraq
  • Activities in the countries of the “Arab Spring”
  • Stabilization of the Turkish-Russian relationship after diplomatic upheavals
  • Gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean

According to politicsezine, there is a special connection between the USA and Turkey, but this was exposed to severe irritation due to the support of the Syrian YPG troops by the USA.

The country’s commitment in Africa continues to be a strong focus.

The Arte documentation “Blackbox Syria” shows the complexity of the war and the interweaving of international actors in a transparent way (87:40 min. / German).

Mausoleum in Ankara Turkey