ISSUE: 3/2022

  • Volume 26
  • Number 3
  • 2022


Studia Europejskie –
Studies in European Affairs

ISSN: 1428-149X
e-ISSN: 2719-3780

Ccbync License


Articles published in the journal are under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivatives 4.0 International License

NATO-Türkiye Relations: From Irreplaceable Partner to Questionable Ally


With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Türkiye’s role in NATO has once again become a topic of intellectual discussion, with many observers arguing that a revival of Russian power would lead to Türkiye’s return to the alliance as a good-standing member, while others questioned the likelihood of such a scenario due to the country’s political transformation. This is not the first time Türkiye’s role within the alliance has become a subject of debate. Türkiye is often described as a valuable and dedicated partner of NATO. Yet, since the beginning of its membership, the country’s role in the alliance has been questioned more than that of any other member state. This article seeks to analyse NATO’s relations with Türkiye and the country’s role within the alliance from a historical perspective. It aims to understand the debates on Türkiye’s role within NATO by focusing on the moments of transformation in relations. The main assumption of this article is that, from the beginning of Türkiye’s membership process, Turkish-American relations have been the main determinant of Türkiye-NATO relations. Türkiye’s role, defence, and identity have always been questioned by European members. But these debates on Türkiye had, until as recently as the 2010s, been directed and/or suppressed by the US in accordance with its own interests. The US had been the main supporter of Türkiye in the alliance against the opposition and criticism of Europeans in exchange for Türkiye’s commitment to US policies. While differences on interests and values between the US and Türkiye became more visible after 2010, Türkiye failed to secure the support of the alliance’s European members to fill the gap left by the waning US support. Indeed, the differences between them grew from security-based issues, to wider, more major identity issues.


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Language: English

Pages: 93-116

How to Cite:


Bölme, S. (2022) "NATO-Türkiye Relations: From Irreplaceable Partner to Questionable Ally". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 3/2022, pp. 93-116. DOI: 10.33067/SE.3.2022.5