Is Turkey Slipping Out of the West’s Orbit?

  • Colonel Chris William Chronis

Is Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slipping out of the West’s orbit, and what are the impacts of the rise of political Islam on Turkey’s relationship with the West? Further, how can the West maintain—and possibly improve—its influence and relations with the Turkish people, the Turkish business community, and the Turkish military in the era of Erdogan? Since coming to power in 2003, President Erdogan and his Islamic Justice and Development Party have altered the political, judicial, military, and social landscapes within Turkey’s traditionally secular Muslim majority society in ways unimaginable since the era of Ataturk and the founding of the republic in 1923. Therefore, the West must make every effort to keep Turkey—a longtime ally and emerging economic power—within the post-war economic and military framework that facilitates free trade, inter-dependence, open markets, collective security, civil liberties, democratic values, and the resultant stability and prosperity that ensures the survival and expansion of a secular, modernized, and pro-western Turkish society, economy, and military.