By Richard Weitz (vol. 3, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey has presented a unique challenge to the efforts of NATO and the EU to restructure their roles, missions, and capabilities to address Europe’s 21st-century security challenges. It is impossible to construct an effective European security architecture without addressing Turkey’s role. Yet, finding an appropriate place for Ankara in the evolving EU-NATO balance has proven exceptionally difficult given the country’s continued exclusion from the EU and the dispute between Turkey and the government of Cyprus. Turkish officials have waged a protracted battle to secure some influence on EU security decisions as well as to compel Greek Cypriots to reach a political settlement with their Turkish minority. In pursuit of these ends, they have proved willing to block EU-NATO cooperation on important security issues.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
It is nearly five years since Turkey’s ruling party passed a substantive package of reforms to comply with EU norms. The few reforms demanded by the EU which have been passed in recent years appear to be more the product of a convergence with the AKP’s perceptions of its own interests than a response to the requirements of the accession process. As Turkish officials try to come up with a formula to avoid a “train crash” in December 2009, their main concern is no longer to move the accession process forward; it is simply to keep it alive.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
As Turkey has become estranged from its Western allies, especially as a result of having being cold-shouldered by the European Union, the country has come to develop closer relations with Russia, a historical rival. During the recent the visit of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey, the two countries signed cooperation protocols in several fields, mostly regarding energy issues. The visit saw progress in advancing regional energy projects that benefit both countries, Turkey obtaining Russian support for its Samsun-Ceyhan oil project and Russia obtaining Turkish agreement for its South Stream gas project. The burgeoning relationship should nevertheless not be seen as an attempt by Ankara to distance itself from the West, but as a Russian move to fill the vacuum left by American and European neglect of Turkey.
By M.K. Kaya and Svante E. Cornell (vol. 2, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Nabucco pipeline is key to Europe’s diversification of natural gas supply, but faces numerous problems. Turkey has been a problem country for Nabucco given the low level of coordination of Turkish policy on the issue and Ankara’s exaggerated demands. Nevertheless, Ankara now appears to have adopted a more realistic policy. However, Ankara’s stance on Nabucco and its rapprochement with Armenia did considerable damage to the project by putting into question Azerbaijan’s participation. Indeed, while Turkey appears less of a problem than a few months ago, the ball is now in Baku.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
The appointment of Egemen Bagis as new chief negotiator and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the EU Commission in Brussels on 18–20 January signals the start of a new era in Turkey-EU relations. Although they are important, these steps taken by Ankara will evidently not be enough. The future of Turkey’s EU accession process depends on political developments in Turkey as well as in Europe. But there can be no doubt that the EU membership process remains a crucial political asset for the governing AKP.
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.