Going it Alone: Will Turkey's Foreign Policy Stay the Course?

Speakers discuss the trajectory of Turkey’s foreign policy in the MENA region, and consider the future of the country’s relations with Europe and the United States.

Research event
9 December 2020 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM

Turkey’s foreign policy towards the Middle East and North Africa has become more strident in recent years, with its approach marked by unilateralism and the increased use of military power.

This has been illustrated through Turkey’s direct involvement in conflicts in Syria and Libya, and, more recently, through operations in Iraq targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey’s strong assertions of its rights to drill in the Eastern Mediterranean is heightening tensions.

Many of these actions have angered countries in Europe moving Turkey ever further from potential membership in the European Union while also souring relations with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

On the transatlantic scene, ties between Ankara and Washington have deteriorated over the last years but, nevertheless, President Erdogan enjoyed a good relationship with President Trump who defended Turkey from facing financial sanctions for purchasing an air defence system from Russia.

As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaches, the new US administration will have to consider whether to take a tougher stance on Turkey or whether to adopt a more diplomatic approach towards a NATO member with important stakes in the neighbourhood.

The webinar will be livestream on the MENA Programme Facebook Page.


Galip Dalay, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at Robert Bosch Academy; Non-resident Fellow, Brookings Doha Centre
Ian Lesser, Vice President and Executive Director, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Gönül Tol, Director of Turkey Program and Senior Fellow, Frontier Europe Initiative, Middle East Institute

Moderator: Tim Eaton, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

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