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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Turkey’s Impending Eastern Turn

Turkey’s Impending Eastern Turn

  • A.Kadir Yildirim
Turkey’s shift away from the West since the July 15 coup attempt is a deliberate tactic to strengthen the government’s domestic support base and pursue a more aggressive regional role.
In the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, Turkish foreign policy seems to have set sail to the East. This shift, in contrast to prevailing perceptions, reflects a deliberate choice made by Turkey dating back to the pre-July 15 period. A desire to boost the government’s domestic standing and pursue a more independent and aggressive foreign policy has prompted this change. Current analyses of Turkish foreign policy tend to urge the West to show greater solidarity with Turkish elected officials and the citizens who opposed extra-democratic interventions. They suggest that Turkey needs “sensible friends” at this juncture—during which tens of thousands of individuals have been arrested, detained, dismissed, prosecuted, and tortured for the alleged crimes of coup-plotting or terrorism. Analysts assume the Turkish government is in survival mode, merely responding to domestic and international developments. If somehow Turkey were to exit the Western orbit, blame will rest squarely on the West for failing to accommodate Turkish demands, as Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed. Turkey needs exceptional treatment at this time of existential threat, the argument goes, and the West needs to “understand” Turkey, implicitly hinting at the West’s failure to do so in 2013 in Egypt.

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