The West must find ways to accommodate Ankara’s growing global ambitions even as it urges Turkey to take a more constructive and visible role in the challenges of global governance.
The establishment of an effective cooperative foreign policy with Turkey would get the European External Action Service off to a strong start and demonstrate that both Ankara and Brussels are committed to an ambitious agenda for the wider Middle East.
Turkey and the EU both face urgent foreign and security issues that cannot wait. As a result, they need a new, more effective channel for strategic dialogue to complement the accession process.
While Turkey’s vote against additional UN Security Council sanctions on Iran was viewed by some as a sign that Turkey is drifting away from the West, in reality the relationship is much more complicated.
Ankara’s new diplomatic activism represents a significant transformation of Turkey's regional role. However, some policy choices have created frictions in relationships with traditional allies.
As Turkey moves toward national elections in 2011, it remains unclear whether Prime Minister Erdogan’s popularity will further embolden an increasingly assertive foreign policy or if a more democratic Turkey will find ways to reduce friction with the West.
While there is virtually no hope that the 2009 Armenian–Turkish Protocols will be ratified soon, both parties should take steps to rebuild confidence and affirm their faith in the process.
Turkey’s AKP referendum victory on constitutional reform could result in measures revitalizing the country’s bid for EU membership. However, the referendum could also deepen Turkey’s political divisions.
Turkey’s recent constitutional referendum passed with the support of little over half of the Turkish population, giving Prime Minister Erdogan an electoral victory and consolidating his political authority.
Turks are preparing to vote on a set of proposed constitutional amendments that risk undermining the independence of the judiciary and eroding one of the necessary checks on the power of the executive branch.