Erdoğan's New Turkey

October 8, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 35
Will it keep drifting away from the West?
By Jonathan Broder


Despite nearly 70 years as NATO allies, Turkey and the United States are locked in a series of diplomatic and national security disputes that have undermined mutual trust and weakened NATO's collective defense posture. A separate set of maritime disputes has damaged Turkey's relations with the European Union. Under its Islamist and increasingly authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has drifted away from the West and closer to Russia in recent years, raising concerns in Western capitals. At the center of the conflicts, experts say, is the West's outdated image of Turkey as a junior NATO partner versus Erdoğan's determination to redefine Turkey as an independent and assertive regional power. Experts say it is unlikely that these tensions will subside while Erdoğan remains in power. But as his unorthodox economic policies drive up inflation and hollow out the country's lira currency, his political future is uncertain.

Photo of a missile system in a parade in Novosibirsk, Russia, on May 9, 2021. (Getty Images/TASS/Kirill Kukhmar)
Turkey, although a NATO member, has purchased and deployed Russian S-400 missiles like the ones shown here, further sparking tensions between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his country's NATO allies. The missiles are designed to shoot down NATO warplanes. (Getty Images/TASS/Kirill Kukhmar)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 08, 2021  Erdoğan's New Turkey
Oct. 20, 2017  Democracy Under Stress
Jul. 17, 2012  Myanmar's New Era
Jan. 17, 2012  Emerging Central Asia
Jun. 21, 2011  Peacebuilding
May 03, 2011  Turmoil in the Arab World
Feb. 15, 2011  Sub-Saharan Democracy
Jun. 2010  Democracy in Southeast Asia
Apr. 01, 2005  Exporting Democracy
Jan. 30, 2004  Democracy in the Arab World
Nov. 03, 2000  Democracy in Latin America
Oct. 08, 1999  Democracy in Eastern Europe
Jul. 24, 1998  Democracy in Asia
Aug. 17, 1990  Initiatives: True Democracy or Bad Lawmaking?
Feb. 02, 1990  Free Markets, Free Politics and Growth
Jun. 14, 1967  Greece: Monarchy Vs. Republicanism
Feb. 04, 1959  Revolutionary Ferment and Democratic Processes
Alliances and Security Agreements
Arms Control and Disarmament
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Cold War
Conflicts in Asia
Defense Industry
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
General International Relations
Global Issues
Humanitarian Assistance
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
International Law and Agreements
Lobbying and Special Interests
Military Bases
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
Religion and Politics
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
War and Conflict