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Globalization and politics

Yavuz Baydar
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piqer: Yavuz Baydar
Sunday, 12 November 2017

'Turkey Has Written Itself Out Of The Western Alliance'

The crisis, with Turkey at its very center, deepens every day. The dramatic part of the stand-off between Washington and Ankara is that it becomes more and more difficult to foresee a way to stop this key NATO ally from drifting away to the Russian sphere. 

Recently Turkey and the United States stopped issuing visas to each other’s citizens. This is more than just another travel ban. It is a geopolitical spectacle unique in modern history: two allied countries blocking normal back-and-forth travel. An old relationship has gone deeply sour.

Critics point out that as long as Erdoğan holds the power in his tight grip, and Trump remains unable to direct a coherent and consistent foreign policy, the trend of 'losing Turkey' will be irreversible.

But, deep down, as Stephen Kinzer — a former correspondent for the New York Times in Turkey and the writer of the book 'Crescent and the Star' — argues, it is about the crumbling of NATO.

"Turkey’s defection is the latest and most vivid symptom of NATO’s failure to adapt to the 21st century," he wrote. Once a powerful alliance, it is now crackling.

NATO ... will never again be the powerful and united force it was during the Cold War. Turkey is splitting off because it now sees its own security goals as more important than those of the alliance. Other countries will make the same calculation. They will follow Turkey’s example: pretend to be NATO members while going their own way.

What we see, according to Kinzer, is an 'effective withdrawal':

Prickly nationalism and an evolving sense of self-interest helped push Turkey to this point. So did America’s insistence on maintaining an old-style NATO after the Cold War ended. One other factor looms in the recent past. Turkey tried for years to enter the European Union. It was repeatedly rebuffed. With that historic choice, Europe slammed its door in Turkey’s face. Naturally the Turks began looking for friends and partners elsewhere. Even strategic alliances are not forever.

'Turkey Has Written Itself Out Of The Western Alliance'
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