Turbulence Ahead for Turkey and the West

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Publication Date May 2022
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As the next Turkish election approaches, the question facing Western policy-makers is whether tensions with Turkey are rooted in the specificities of Erdoğan’s government or are more deeply entrenched. If the opposition alliance wins the next election and strengthens rights and freedoms, as it says it wants to, there will be fewer tensions with Europe and the US over the state of Turkish democracy. This could inject positive momentum in relations between Turkey and its Western allies. But Western policy-makers should not assume that the tensions would disappear. Turkey's stance on issues like Cyprus or disputes with Greece would be unlikely to change much. And public opinion polls suggest that distrust towards the West is widespread in Turkey. A survey for the German Marshall Fund in April found that 58 per cent of Turks see the US as “the biggest threat to Turkey’s national interests”. Opinion towards Europe is similarly negative, with 70 per cent of Turks thinking that “Europe has assisted strengthening of separationist organisations such as PKK”. It won't be easy for Western leaders to change these perceptions. But so long as public opinion remains unfriendly to the West, NATO’s political cohesion will be at risk.

Source Link https://www.cer.eu/insights/turbulence-ahead-turkey-and-west
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  • https://www.cer.eu/sites/default/files/insight_LS_Turkey_NATO_20.5.22.pdf
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