By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
NATO’s May 20-21 heads-of-state summit in Chicago reminded everyone how Turkey is making important contributions to NATO in many key areas—the war in Afghanistan, addressing new missions such as projecting security into North Africa, and developing new defense capabilities.. Turkey aspires to a leadership role in the alliance, with the hope that President Abdullah Gül, who attended the summit, will become the next NATO Secretary-General. But Turkey’s contributions risks being overshadowed by its petty efforts to limit NATO’s ties with Israel and the European Union. While these bilateral Turkish disputes are important, they should not be allowed to contaminate NATO’s vital multinational security missions.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Despite its challenging neighborhood, Turkey has an exemplary nuclear nonproliferation record. Several favorable factors have allowed Turkey to abstain from developing its own nuclear weapons and make strong declarations in favor of nuclear nonproliferation. Having physical access to the U.S.-NATO nuclear weapons has been a form of compensation for Turkey’s not developing its own national nuclear arsenal. Even so, while Turkey can boast a largely successful nuclear nonproliferation record, certain plausible developments could still undermine it and force a reluctant Ankara to seek its own nuclear arsenal.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 5, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
By agreeing to deploy the Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance System (AN/TPY-2) on Turkish soil, the United States and Turkey have concluded by far the strategically most significant agreement in many years. By hosting the radar, Turkey has dispelled doubts regarding its alliance allegiances, while concurrently making itself a target of Iranian counter-measures. The crucial question for Turkey in the wake of the deployment in Malatya is the extent to which NATO’s missile defense shield will indeed provide it with comprehensive protection. Whether or not the possible security gains stand to be offset by new security threats arising is the vital question that begs for an answer, and that the Turkish authorities need to address.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
On November 26, 2011, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, declared that, if Iran came under attack from the U.S. or Israel, its first response would be to target elements of NATO’s missile shield in Turkey. The threat was the latest – and most explicit – Iranian expression of unease at Turkey’s willingness to deploy the missile shield since the decision was first announced on September 2, 2011. It put additional pressure on a bilateral political relationship already strained by the popular uprisings in the Arab world. The tensions will have reassured those in the West who had been alarmed by the apparent rapprochement between the two countries in recent years, particularly Turkey’s vigorous defense of Iran’s nuclear program in 2010. But, in reality, the relationship has always been more nuanced and multilayered than a simple dichotomy of friend or foe.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
Foreign and defense policies did not figure prominently in the recent general election in Turkey. Most Turks seem satisfied with the more assertive role that their government has assumed in recent years, while Turkey’s weak opposition parties have yet to offer a coherent foreign policy alternative to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Still, Turkish leaders will not be able to escape foreign and defense issues given Turkey’s dependence on its foreign economic ties and its location as a “front-line” state bordering the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans. The situation in Syria is the most sensitive one for Turkey, and it could notably disrupt Turkey’s otherwise harmonious relations with Iran. Another crucial question is how much pull NATO will exercise over Ankara’s foreign and defense policies.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.