- Volume 26
- Number 3
Studia Europejskie –
Studies in European Affairs
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.
Açıkmeşe, S.A. and Triantaphyllou, D. (2012) „The NATO–EU–Turkey trilogy: the impact of the Cyprus conundrum”, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. Vol. 12(4), pp.555–573. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14683857.2012.741846.
Athanassopoulou, E. (1999) Turkey – Anglo-American Security Interests, 1945–1952: The fi rst enlargement of NATO. London: Frank Cass Publishers.
Aybet, G. (1997) The Dynamics Of European Security Cooperation, 1945–91. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Aydoğan, M. (2022) „US” Latest Move on Terrorist YPG/PKK Seeks to “Legitimize” Outlawed Goup, Says Turkiye, Anadolu Agency, 13 May. Available at: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/us-latest-move-on-terrorist-ypg-pkk-seeks-to-legitimize-outlawed-group-says-turkiye/2586979 (Access 19.05.2022).
BBC (2017a) NATO Hit by Turkish Veto on Austria Partnership, 23 May. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40013507 (Access 18.05.2022).
BBC (2017b) Turkey row: Why has Erdogan Riled Nato Allies?, 13 March. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39255864 (Access 18.05.2022).
Bekdil, B.E. (2015) „US Begins Removing Patriot Missiles from Turkey”, Defense News, 12 October. Available at: https://www.defensenews.com/home/2015/10/11/us-begins-removing-patriot-missiles-from-turkey/ (Access 20.05.2022).
Bilgin, P. (2003) „The “Peculiarity” of Turkey’s Position on EUNATO Military/Security Cooperation: A Rejoinder to Missiroli”, Security Dialogue. Vol. 34(3), pp. 345–349. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09670106030343010.
Bölme, S.M. (2012) Incirlik Üssü: ABD’nin Üs Politikas? ve Türkiye. Istanbul: Iletişim Yayınları.
Bölme, S.M. (2016) The Impact of the Arab Spring on NATO’s Policy towards the Middle East in Karakoç J. and Ersoy D. (eds.) New Actors and Issues in the Post Arab Uprisings Period. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholar Publishing, pp. 119–147.
Cleveland, H. (1970) NATO: The Transatlantic Bargain. New York: Harper & Row.
Cohen, A. (2010) „Washington Concerned as Turkey leaving the West”, Turkish Policy Quarterly, Fall, pp. 25–35.
Crowley M. and Enlanger S. (2022) „For NATO, Turkey Is a Disruptive Ally”, The New York Times. 30 May. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/30/us/politics/turkey-nato-russia.html (Access 10.08.2022).
Davutoğlu, A. (2001) Stratejik Derinlik. İstanbul: Küre Yayınları.
Davutoğlu, A. (2012) „Transformation of NATO and Turkey’s Position”, Perceptions. Vol. 17(1), pp. 15–17.
Department of State (1951a) Agreed Conclusions and Recommendations of the Conference of Middle Eastern Chiefs of Mission, Istanbul. Office of the Historian. Available at: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951v05/d12 (Access 10.05.2022).
Department of State (1951b) Mr. McGhee’s Recent Conversation with High Turkish Government Offi cials. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
Department of State (1951c) September 11, 1950 Letter from the Secretary of Defense re Desire of Turkey to be Included in the North Atlantic Treaty. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
Department of State (1958) Staging and Pre-Stockage Rights at Adana for Other than NATO Purposes. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) (RG59 General Records of the Department of State).
Department of the Army Office of the Chief of Engineers (1950) ‘Advice of Allotment: Construction and Rehabilitation of Airfi elds and Facilities, Turkey’. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) (RG531 Records of U.S. European Command).
Deringil, S. (1998) Denge Oyunu: İkinci Dünya Savaşında Türkiye ’nin Dış Politikası. İstanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı.
Dimitrova, A. (2019) NATO at Seventy: The Need to Redefi ne the Transatlantic Bargain. 94. Centre International de Formation Européenne.
Emmott, R. (2015) „NATO Agrees Turkey Air Defence Package, Seeks Predictability”, Reuters, 18 December. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-turkey-nato-exclusiveidUKKBN0U123D20151218 (Access 10.05.2022).
Foreign Assistance Correlation Committee (1949) Basic Estimates and Materials on the Proposed Military Assistance Program.
Gürsoy, Y. and Toygür, İ. (2018) Turkey in and out of NATO? An instance of a turbulent alliance with Western institutions. Real Instituto Elcano. Available at: https://media.realinstitutoelcano.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ari73-2018-gursoy-toygur-turkey-in-out-nato-turbulentalliance-western-institutions.pdf. (Access 10.05.2022).
Güvenç, S. and Özel, S. (2012) „NATO and Turkey in the post-Cold War world: between abandonment and entrapment”, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. Vol. 12(4), pp. 533–553. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14683857.2012.741845.
Hallams, E. (2013) A Transatlantic Bargain for The 21st Century: The United States, Europe, and the Transatlantic Alliance. Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep11839.
Harris, K. (1997) „”Wartime Lie”, The New York Times Web Edition, 27 April. Available at: https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/97/04/27/reviews/970427.27harrist.html?scp=80&sq=cross%2520word&st=cse (Access 10.04.2022).
Hill, J. (2017) Turkish-German Ties Fray as Erdogan Chases Diaspora Vote, BBC, 9 March. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39215497 (Access 20.05.2022).
JCS (1946) Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of War and Secretary of Navy. Offi ce of the Historian. Available at: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1946v07/pg_857 (Access 4.05.2022).
JCS (1949) Views of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff on Military Rights in Foreign Territories. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
JCS (1950) Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense: Admission of Turkey to the North Atlantic Treaty. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
Johnson, L.B. and İnönü, İ. (1966) „President Johnson and Prime Minister Inonu: Correspondence between President Johnson and Prime Minister Inonu, June 1964”, Middle East Journal. Vol. 20(3), pp. 386–393.
Johnstone, D. (1989) „Turkey’s Other NATO Link”. Report 160, pp. 17–18. Available at: https://merip.org/1989/09/turkeys-other-nato-link/ (Access 4.05.2022).
Joint Strategic Plans Committee (1951) Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense: Proposed Increase in the Size of the Turkish Army. Kamp, K.H. and Volker, K. (2012) Toward a New Transatlantic Bargain. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Available at: https://carnegieendowment.org/fi les/transatlantic_bargain.pdf (Access 30.04.2022).
Kaplan, L.S. (2012) What has the Transatlantic Bargain Been and Evolved into Today. NATO Defense College, Institute for National Security Studies.
Karaosmanoğlu, A.L. (1983) „Turkey’s Security and the Middle East”, Foreign Affairs. Vol. 62(1), pp. 157–175.
Kelly, L. and Chalfant M. (2022) „US frustrated over ‘problematic’ NATO ally Turkey”. The Hill. 21 May. Available at: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/3496164-us-frustrated-over-problematic-nato-ally-turkey/(Access 10.08.2022).
Kibaroğlu, M. (2019) „On Turkey’ s Missile Defense Strategy: The Four Faces of the S-400 Deal between Turkey and RussiaAutumn”, Perceptions. Vol. 24(2–3), pp. 159–174.
Kuniholm, B.R. (1991) „Turkey and the West”, Foreign Affairs, 70(2), pp. 34–47. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/20044708.
Kutlay, M. and Öniş, Z. (2021) „Turkish foreign policy in a post-western order: strategic autonomy or new forms of dependence?”, International Affairs. Vol. 97(4), July 2021, pp. 1085–1104.
Leffler, M.P. (1985) „Strategy, Diplomacy, and the Cold War: The United StatesTurkey, and NATO, 1945–1952”, The Journal of American History. Vol. 71(4), pp. 807–825. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1888505.
Livingston, C. (1994) „”One thousand wings”: the United States Air Force group and the American mission for aid to Turkey, 1947–50”, Middle Eastern Studies. Vol. 30(4), pp. 778–825. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00263209408701024.
Lukov, Y. and Murphy, M. (2022) Turkey threatens to block Finland and Sweden NATO bids, BBC, 17 May. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61472021 (Access 20.05.2022).
Martins, V. (2016) The issue of NATO “out-of-area” operations: from West Africa to the borders of the Near East in Franco-British diplomatic games and issues in WEU (1954–1982). Luxembourg: The University of Luxembourg CVCE. Available at: https://www.cvce.eu/en/recherche/unit-content/-/unit/e7c423ed-a376-4a57-a415-f8519344e558/3a02a425-4d6a-419a-b61d-bef706c470d2/Resources#4c42d88e-8aca-4cca-a562-6f156dd5bb8e_en&overlay (Access 15.04.2022).
National Security Council (1951) NSC 103/1. Office of the Historian. Available at: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1951 v05/d212 (Access 10.04.2022).
NATO (2013) NATO support to Turkey?: Background and Timeline. Available at: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_92555.htm? (Access 20.05.2022).
NATO (2022) NATO and the 2003 campaign against Iraq. Available at: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_51977.htm (Access 20.05.2022).
NATO Defence Planning Committee (1983) Final Communiqué. Available at: https://www.nato.int/docu/comm/49-95/c831207a.htm (Access 18.05.2022).
Nişancı, Ş. and Dufourcq, J. (2005) Turkey’s Role in NATO in the Post Cold War Security Environment, NATO Defense College Publications. Vol. 16, pp. 1–9.
Oğuzlu, T. (2012) „Turkey’s Eroding Commitment to NATO: From Identity to Interests”, The Washington Quarterly. Vol. 35(3), pp. 153–164. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0163660X.2012.706578.
Oğuzlu, T. (2013) „Turkey and NATO”, Adam Academy Journal of Social Sciences. Vol. 3(1), pp. 1–10.
Pertusot, V. (2011) NATO Partnerships: Shaking Hands or Shaking the System? 31. IFRI Security Studies Center. Available at: https://www.ifri.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/fs31pertusotnatopartnerships.pdf (Access 1.05.2022).
Policy Planning Staff (1948a) A Memorandum from Policy Planning Staff to Ambassador Wilson. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
Policy Planning Staff (1948b) The U.S. Position with Respect to Turkey in the Light of U.S. Security Interest in the Middle East, Particularly as Respects Air Force and the Greek and Turkish Aid Programs. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
Policy Planning Staff (1951) Security Commitment to Turkey. NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) [RG59 Records of the Policy Planning Staff (1947–1953)].
Pompeo, M. (2020) Press Statement: The United States Sanctions Turkey Under CAATSA 231. U.S. Department of State. Available at: https://2017-2021.state.gov/the-united-states-sanctions-turkey-under-caatsa-231/index.html (Access 1.05.2022).
Schanzer, J. (2014) „Time to Kick Turkey Out of NATO?”, Politico, 9 October. Available at: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/timeto-kick-turkey-out-of-nato-111734/ (Access 20.05.2022).
Sperling, J. and Weber, M. (2009) „NATO: From Kosovo to Kabul”, International Affairs. Vol. 85(3), pp. 491–511.
Stoltenberg, J. (2015) The Secretary General’s Annual Report 2014. Available at: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_116854.htm (Access 1.05.2022).
Stork, J. (1980) „The Carter Doctrine and US Bases in the Middle East”, MERIP Reports. Vol. 90, pp. 3-14; 32. Available at: https://merip.org/1980/09/the-carter-doctrine-and-us-bases-in-the-middle-east/ (Access 1.05.2022).
The Alliances New Strategic Concept (1991) Available at: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/offi cial_texts_23847.htm (Access 20.07.2022).
The Alliances New Strategic Concept (1999) Available at: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/offi cial_texts_27433.htm (Access 20.06.2022).
The Economist (2010) A Country’s Welcome Risne: Is Turkey Turning its Back on the West, 21 October. Available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2010/10/21/is-turkey-turning-its-back-on-the-west (Access 20.05. 2022).
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949) Available at: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/offi cial_texts_17120.htm (Access 20.06.2022).
Townsend, J. and Ellehuus, R. (2019) „The Tale of Turkey and the Patriots”, War on the Rocks, 22 July. Available at: https://warontherocks.com/2019/07/the-tale-of-turkey-and-the-patriots/ (Access 14.05.2022).
U.S. Department of Defense (2018) Status of the U.S. Relationship with the Republic of Turkey: Unclassifi ed Executive Summary. Available at: https://man.fas.org/eprint/dod-turkey.pdf (Access 15.05.2022).
Vamvakas, P. (2009) „NATO and Turkey in Afghanistan and Central Asia: Possibilities and Blind Spots”, Turkish Studies. Vol. 10(1), pp. 57–74. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14683840802648661.
Wilkinson, J.R. (1956) „Denmark and NATO: The Problem of a SmallState in a Collective Security System”, International Organization. Vol. 10(3), pp. 390–401. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818300007803.
Winrow, G.M. (1993) „NATO and the Out-Of-Area Issue: The Positions of Turkey and Italy”, Il Politico. Vol. 58(4), pp. 631–652
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
Bölme S. (2022). NATO-Türkiye Relations: From Irreplaceable Partner to Questionable Ally. Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 3/2022, 93-116. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33067/SE.3.2022.5
Bölme, Selin M.. 2022. "NATO-Türkiye Relations: From Irreplaceable Partner to Questionable Ally". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs 3/2022, 93-116. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33067/SE.3.2022.5