Turkey's Eroding Commitment to NATO: From Identity to Interests

Tarık Oğuzlu
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Summer 2012
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Turkey's view concerning its commitment to NATO is changing. NATO has always been the most prestigious institution binding Turkey to the West, but Turks are beginning to question whether NATO is still indispensable to Turkey's foreign and security policies. During the Cold War, Turkey's commitment to NATO was largely identity-driven. Membership in NATO suited Turkey's goal of pursuing a Western/European identity, and was justified by the Westernization goals of the founders of the Republic. Even though NATO's primary purpose at its inception was to help secure the territorial integrity of its members against the Soviet Union, the Alliance also symbolized the unity of nations which embrace liberal—democratic norms at home and abroad; it offered a security blanket under which European allies could intensify their supranational integration process and turn Europe into a Kantian security community. Joining NATO in 1952 was therefore a logical follow-up step to Turkey's membership in the Council of Europe (1949), and helped Turkey legitimize the claim that it was a Western/European country, representing the Western international community in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Political Geography
Europe, Turkey