Turkey, Europe and America: Not in Our backyard

Turkey has not had a ‘good’ war. Its diplomatic march westwards has stalled, and conditions do not look good for reviving it. Events in the predominantly Kurdish areas of northern Iraq have not yet completed their cycle, the Cyprus issue has emerged as a major obstacle to European Union entry, and Washington’s strategic sponsorship of Turkey is under review.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Bill Park

Senior Lecturer, Wat Studies Group, King's College London

Just six months after its election victory, the bright start made by Turkey’s Justice and Development (AK) party government has dimmed considerably. Promises to provide clean and representative government and a reformed and strengthened economy have been overtaken, even derailed, by acute foreign policy difficulties. Relations with both the US and Europe have soured and questions are once again being raised about the durability of the country’s western orientation.

Blown off course

The looming crisis over Iraq came to preoccupy Ankara and threatened to dislodge the new government from its chosen path. As soon as it took office, Washington began to press for American ground forces to invade Iraq from Turkish soil. As an inducement, the US offered a substantial – though for some in Ankara, not substantial enough – financial package to protect Turkey’s fragile economy from the shock of war on its borders.

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