Since coming to power in 2002 Recep Tayyip Erdogan has overseen a radical transformation of Turkey. Once a pillar of the Western alliance, the country has embarked on a militaristic foreign policy, and its democracy, sustained by the aspiration to join the European Union, has given way to one-man rule.
Despite soaring inflation rates and dwindling currency reserves, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains committed to the Turkish Growth Model. Beyond monetary policy, Turkish foreign policy is being recalibrated to account for the country’s political, business, and economic interests.
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel played a crucial role in keeping the EU-Turkey relationship on track. New leadership in Berlin—a three-party coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals—raises questions about the future substance and tone of relations between Germany, the EU, and Turkey.
Turkey’s current state is defined by a deteriorating rule-of-law architecture and an assertive foreign policy. The country’s future lies in the hands of its citizens, who will head to the polls in 2023 for presidential and legislative elections.
The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has voted to refer the Kavala v. Turkey case to the European Court of Human Rights. By doing so, the Council of Europe upheld European values and principles, namely the rule of law.
Diplomatic relations between the EU and Turkey have been strained since 2019. To improve them, the EU will have to overcome Ankara's self-contradicting foreign policy by managing its own internal conflicts and coordinating more closely with the United States.
A brief diplomatic crisis in early October demonstrated that U.S.-Turkish relations remain tense. However, Turkish reliance on Western military technology and its dedication to NATO mean it is too early to talk of decoupling.
With twenty months left until Turkey’s legislative and presidential elections, the political debate will be fierce. The West may choose to sit it out rather than see its relationship with Ankara deteriorate even further.
In a bid to gain political ground at home, Ankara has launched multiple military operations in Syria. These have laid the groundwork for a more aggressive, nationalist foreign policy with profound implications for relations with the United States, Russia, and the EU.