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.
Exempting Argentina and Brazil on new enrichment and reprocessing guidelines in the 46-member Nuclear Suppliers Group undermines the separate but important goal of establishing the IAEA Additional Protocol as the global standard on nonproliferation verification.
The crisis in the eurozone may prove a blessing in disguise for Turkey, given its strong economic performance over the past years, and could even revitalize Turkey’s prospects for membership in the European Union.
Fully engaging with and understanding Turkey is of critical importance for the United States, and blaming the European Union's continued reluctance to accept Turkey into its ranks oversimplifies the situation and could lead to unintended consequences.