How do we make sense of Turkey’s recent turn against the West – after decades of Turkish cooperation and desire to be integrated into the European and wider Western community in terms of foreign policy? Dr. Oya Dursun-Özkanca’s new book Turkey-West Relations: The Politics of Intra-alliance Opposition (Cambridge UP, 2019) interrogates the dynamics of the relationship between Turkey and the West, particularly the EU, NATO, and the United States. The compelling book develops a framework of intra-alliance opposition to explain this shift from Turkey’s engagement with the West as a desirable ally to Turkey’s increasingly hostility to the West after 2010. Moving beyond the power and personality of Erdogan, Dursun-Özkanca develops an analytical framework of the politics of intra-alliance opposition and provides a comprehensive and nuanced account of how and why Turkish foreign policy has changed within the transatlantic alliance. She offers three categories of intra-alliance opposition behavior: boundary testing; boundary challenging; boundary breaking. She deploys these categories to differentiate between the motivations behind the use of each tool – providing an analysis of Turkey that can also be exported to other cases. This extensively researched book depends upon extensive fieldwork and more than 200 semi-structured elite interviews conducted with government officials, diplomats, academics, officials, and journalists in Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, the UK, Germany, and the U.S. The book provides 6 case studies (Turkey’s pragmatic foreign policy in the Western Balkans, the Turkish vote over the EU-NATO security exchange, the EU-Turkey deal on the refugee crisis, Turkey’s energy policies, Turkish rapprochement with Russia in security and defense and Turkish foreign policy on Syria and Iraqi) that demonstrate the 3 categories. The book concludes three possible alternative futures for Turkey’s relations with the West and the podcast includes an analysis of what the change in U.S. leadership (Biden-Blinken) might mean for Turkish-Western relations.
Dr. Dursun-Özkanca is the Endowed Chair of International Studies and Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College. She has edited two books – The European Union as an Actor in Security Sector Reform (Routledge, 2014) and External Interventions in Civil Wars (co-edited with Stefan Wolff, Routledge, 2014) – and has a forthcoming book entitled The Nexus Between Security Sector Reform/Governance and Sustainable Development Goal-16: An Examination of Conceptual Linkages and Policy Recommendations, forthcoming by Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) (London: Ubiquity Press).
Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at email@example.com or tweet to @SusanLiebell.
Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.