How Ankara approaches some critical foreign policy issues raises doubts about many fundamental past assumptions regarding Turkey’s modus operandi. For example, what is the meaning of Turkey’s desire for what its decision makers call an “independent foreign policy”? Is its NATO membership in question? Given the emerging multi-polar international system, will it be possible to maintain security relations with both the United States and Russia? Will Ankara become Moscow’s protégé? Will the process of Turkey joining the EU, already on a rocky road, reach an official end? What is the reason for Turkey’s increased interest in the Middle East, and why is it seen as a revisionist actor in so many capitals in the region?
At the domestic level, too, the rhetoric coming from Ankara refers to “a new Turkey.” Turkey is still seething after the 2016 failed coup. Internal purges and other destructive processes are at their peak. Even the significance of the 2017 change to a presidential political system is still not clear. The attempt of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to implement what he hopes will be his legacy and the opposition of some segments of the Turkish people to this are a source of much tension. The approach to the Kurdish minority in the country remains central. On the eve of the centennial of the Turkish republic (2023) and the self-reflection prompted by this occasion, such questions become even more poignant.
The close relationship of the past between Israel and Turkey was one of the cornerstones of Israel’s foreign policy, though for more than a decade relations have been strained, if not in crisis. It does not seem that there will be a significant change for the better in the foreseeable future, but one must consider if relations will deteriorate further and what are the ramifications of such deterioration. More generally, what is the meaning of Turkey being a persistent rival of Israel in terms of Israel’s foreign relations and security planning and preparedness?
In the Media
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