Security and Defence


Turkey and NATO - living apart together

29 Jan 2019 - 15:36
Source: Turkish prime minister Erdogan at NATO Summit 2018 - NATO/flickr

This CrisisAlert is the first in the series CrisisAlerts Turkey which focuses on different aspects of the tense relationship between the European Union and Turkey.

The Alert focuses on the relationship between Turkey and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Author Dick Zandee discusses Turkey’s position within the Alliance, and what deteriorating US-Turkey relations could mean for European security.

Protecting Europe against any further expansion of the Soviet Union’s area of influence and interference was the main argument for expanding NATO membership to Turkey in 1952. Joining the Atlantic Alliance anchored the Turkish Republic in the West and allied strategic interests always dominated the Turkey-NATO relationship, both during and after the Cold War. 

How different the situation is today. Relations between Ankara and Washington are at a low point, despite the prospects of a meeting between President Erdogan and President Trump in the course of 2019. As it is impossible to isolate tensions between Turkey and the US, the Turkey-NATO relationship is also in troubled waters.