Turkey and its Regional Aspirations in a Changing Middle East

Turkey and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have had an enduring relationship since Ankara joined the Alliance in 1952. While the security challenges for both Turkey and NATO have significantly changed after some time, Turkey’s job inside the Alliance and how Turkey sees the advantages of being an individual from NATO as far as its very own national security have likewise changed. If one managed to analyze this relationship in three stages, the main stage would comprise a time of prevailing aggregate protection for both Turkey and NATO.

The second would be a hyper accentuation on collective security, commonly shared by Turkey and NATO, and the third stage would be Turkey’s commitment as a vital partner for NATO in territorial crisis for a strategic purpose. Initiated toward the Second World Wars’ end, this intricate system laid on the foundation and envisioned the world order depends on the Wilsonian standards of stability and peace, democratic administration, and free market economies.

This, thus, relied upon two things: the restoration of Europe and the regulation of the Soviet Union, which existentially contradicted the thoughts behind this new world order. The U.S. furthermore, Russia is heavily involved in the area, competing for their own pockets of influence. In the interim, the Saudi-Iranian contention is developing hazardously and there are fears that this will trigger the following regional clash. The related sectarianism along the hazardous Sunni-Shiite blame line is likewise developing, promising progressively into regional unrest. After the fall of the shah in Iran in 1979, U.S. strategy organizers turned to Turkey to handle the key job in the Middle East. All through this period, for NATO Turkey was a “useful partner”— one that had a vital geostrategic area and an incredible, substantial armed force. However, since the ascension of Trump to the top echelon of world politics there is lots of chatter around withdrawing support to “one sided” agreements which burden the American citizens. In a changing world order Turkey has surprisingly challenged the dual pillar doctrine, rising as a regional power against the established Saudi and Iran. The fast growing economy has boosted the soft power capabilities, expanding Turkish sphere of influence as a more tolerant alternate.


The European Parliament has recently embraced a new resolution scrutinizing Turkey’s human rights record. An approaching audit of EU monetary support to Turkey will probably finish up with a generous scaling back of assistance. The immigrant crisis, which rose out of Middle Eastern clashes, ended up key to a rapprochement among Turkey and the EU. Presently it could hamper Turkey-EU relations, as Ankara feels that the collaboration just serves the interests of Europe, in moving the Middle East weight as opposed to sharing it.

The imperialist European powers are to partly to blame for the chaos which arose as a result of drawing borders across ethnic groups and not ensuring a governmental structure while transferring power. Expecting Turkey to act as a buffer against the large influx of immigrants but not including in the European Union is a tough ask considering recent developments. Erdogan has tightened his grip in Turkey, overpowering a coup with large scale citizen support.

But the recent developments of allying with Russia and being opposite in many areas of American policy in the Middle East which  largely dictates the European mandate, have hurt the aspirations aimed for the elite EU seat. Turkey naturally frustrated of being left off from the council but well knowing its important role has developed an alternate policy to solve its issues by reconciling with many of its earlier foes and accepting Islamic principles as an important part of governance. The acts of human rights violation in Syria have rattled the NATO alliance as questions are being asked for the long term viability of the Cold War era alliance.


The idea of a “nation” had lost its postcolonial importance, dominated by partisan and innate characters. Turkey, who saw the change as a chance to understand their neo-Ottoman long for situating Turkey, an Islamic democratic system with close connections to both the West and Arab countries, as regional chief. The newly discovered ethos has not just solidified the territorial mission for the stable region; it additionally neglected to address the open want for a political framework that regarded the virtues of confidence, respect, governance, great administration, and civic and monetary rights. With regards to such political precariousness, the requirement for another meaning of citizenship and, progressively imperative, an establishment of political authenticity, presents significantly more noteworthy difficulties.

Having tried Western ism, pan Arabism and patriotism before, the local elements are currently indicating Islamism as the new basic establishment. However, the issues that have emerged have more to do with accommodating Islam with other political and social personalities than with the issue of Islam’s mass intrigue.

Turkey has a key role to play in the coming years, as a link between the Arab nations and the European powers, to act for the greater betterment of the region and practice restraint in sliding towards tyrannical rule from authoritarian leadership. The brand of Islamic leadership should comply with international conduct has the potential to bind the nations around based on religious roots. Fusing Sunni Islam with Turkish nationalism has helped Erdogan overcome the coup attempt by the army, who couldn’t rally people to protect the secularist principle of founding father Ataturk. The failed coup attempt has ensured a violent crackdown on the remaining dissidents, with further amendments to the constitution giving more power to the President. The polarizing nature of policies has irked Europe and the prospects of Turkey repeating the mistakes of other religiously aggressive nationalistic parties have alarmed EU. If Turkey acts rashly in the neighboring conflicts and is dealt with retaliation, the NATO allies are obliged to support as per Article 5 of the NATO alliance.


Turkey can no longer afford to be in the periphery of events happening in the Middle East and now has developed an independent policy that seeks to ascertain power. After a century of Westernization Turkey has resurged its Islamic identity as part of its mobilization for nationalism. Turkey has to be careful to contain its religious path as the identity politics may lead to clashes and eventually culminate into a full out indifference with the West. In spite of overwhelming costs, Ankara considers humanitarian and advancement help as a benefit in the provincial arrangement.

With this move all the efforts done by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance to eradicate terrorist influence will be undone by providing an opportunity for the captured IS fighters to regroup. America delegating the security task of Northern Syria to Kurdish Border Force prompted Turkey to attack and secure the border to prevent Kurdish influence from spreading. Various semi autonomous militia groups have control in the area and are effective in eliminating ISIS presence better than the Assad regime. In its dealings with the Arab world Turkey should exercise restraint when necessary and act responsibly in handling the Kurds within its territory and across its borders. Turkey needs to tread carefully as unstable governments around have caused mass migrations and as a gateway to Europe, the European Union needs Turkey to be more proactive in establishing sustainable governments. While the founding father of the Turkish republic Kemal Ataturk practised restraint in dealing with the neighboring conflicts, the newfound direction of Erdogan has developed as a result of the expansionist capabilities derived from a growing economy. Trump threatening economic sanctions may have an impact on the long term but Turkey has positioned itself well with soft power influence all around.

Turkey has strongly indicated that the recent geopolitical developments have forced  it to act deviant to its long history of siding with the Brussels’ mandate. The claim of creating a safe zone to prevent the terror corridor of extremist groups from spreading with the withdrawal of US forces is a veiled attempt to prevent the mobilization of the Kurdish minority, who now face a daunting task to defend itself without American support. Trump has washed his hands off by advising Turkey to act with restrain and  reminded the power of American trade sanctions if tension escalates.         

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