The Next Liberal Order

The Age of Contagion Demands More Internationalism, Not Less

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When future historians think of the moment that marked the end of the liberal world order, they may point to the spring of 2020—the moment when the United States and its allies, facing the gravest public health threat and economic catastrophe of the postwar era, could not even agree on a simple communiqué of common cause. But the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic engulfing the world these days is only exposing and accelerating what was already happening for years. On public health, trade, human rights, and the environment, governments seem to have lost faith in the value of working together. Not since the 1930s has the world been this bereft of even the most rudimentary forms of cooperation.

The liberal world order is collapsing because its leading patrons, starting with the United States, have given up on it. U.S. President Donald Trump, who declared in 2016 that “we will no longer surrender this country . . . to the false song of globalism,” is actively undermining 75 years of American leadership. Others in the U.S. foreign policy establishment have likewise packed their bags and moved on to the next global era: that of great-power competition. Washington is settling in for a protracted struggle for dominance with China, Russia, and other rival powers. This fractured world, the thinking goes, will offer little space for multilateralism and cooperation. Instead, U.S. grand strategy will be defined by what international relations theorists call “the problems of anarchy”: hegemonic struggles, power transitions, competition for security, spheres of influence, and reactionary nationalism.

But this future is not inevitable, and it is certainly not desirable. The United States may no longer be the world’s sole superpower, but its influence has never been premised on power alone. It also depends on an ability to offer others a set of ideas and institutional frameworks for mutual gain. If the United States abandons that role prematurely, it will be smaller and weaker as a result. A return to great-power competition would destroy what is left of the global institutions that governments rely on for tackling common problems. Liberal democracies would further descend into disunion and thereby lose their ability to shape global rules and norms. The world that would emerge on the other side would be less friendly to such Western values as openness, the rule of law, human rights, and liberal democracy.
A return to great-power competition is neither inevitable nor desirable.
In the short term, the new coronavirus (and the resulting economic and social wreckage) will accelerate the fragmentation and breakdown of global order, hastening the descent into nationalism, great-power rivalry, and strategic decoupling. But the pandemic also offers the United States an opportunity to reverse course and opt for a different path: a last-chance effort to reclaim the two-centuries-old liberal international project of building an order that is open, multilateral, and anchored in a coalition of leading liberal democracies.

For guidance, today’s leaders should look to the example of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. The collapse of the world economy and the rapid spread of fascism and totalitarianism in the 1930s showed that the fates of modern societies were tied to one another and that all were vulnerable to what Roosevelt, using a term that seems eerily prescient today, called “contagion.” The United States, Roosevelt and his contemporaries concluded, could not simply hide within its borders; it would need to build a global infrastructure of institutions and partnerships. The liberal order they went on to build was less about the triumphant march of liberal democracy than about pragmatic, cooperative solutions to the global dangers arising from interdependence. Internationalism was not a project of tearing down borders and globalizing the world; it was about managing the growing complexities of economic and security interdependence in the pursuit of national well-being. Today’s liberal democracies are the bankrupt heirs to this project, but with U.S. leadership, they can still turn it around.

The rivalry between the United States and China will preoccupy the world for decades, and the problems of anarchy cannot be wished away. But for the United States and its partners, a far greater challenge lies in what might be called “the problems of modernity”: the deep, worldwide transformations unleashed by the forces of science, technology, and industrialism, or what the sociologist Ernest Gellner once described as a “tidal wave” pushing and pulling modern societies into an increasingly complex and interconnected world system. Washington and its partners are threatened less by rival great powers than by emergent, interconnected, and cascading transnational dangers. Climate change, pandemic diseases, financial crises, failed states, nuclear proliferation—all reverberate far beyond any individual country. So do the effects of automation and global production chains on capitalist societies, the dangers of the coming revolution in artificial intelligence, and other, as-yet-unimagined upheavals.

The coronavirus is the poster child of these transnational dangers: it does not respect borders, and one cannot hide from it or defeat it in war. Countries facing a global outbreak are only as safe as the least safe among them. For better or worse, the United States and the rest of the world are in it together.

Past American leaders understood that the global problems of modernity called for a global solution and set about building a worldwide network of alliances and multilateral institutions. But for many observers, the result of these efforts—the liberal international order—has been a failure. For some, it is tied to the neoliberal policies that produced financial crises and rising economic inequality; for others, it evokes disastrous military interventions and endless wars. The bet that China would integrate as a “responsible stakeholder” into a U.S.-led liberal order is widely seen to have failed, too. Little wonder that the liberal vision has lost its appeal.
Liberal internationalists need to acknowledge these missteps and failures. Under the auspices of the liberal international order, the United States has intervened too much, regulated too little, and delivered less than it promised. But what do its detractors have to offer? Despite its faults, no other organizing principle currently under debate comes close to liberal internationalism in making the case for a decent and cooperative world order that encourages the enlightened pursuit of national interests. Ironically, the critics’ complaints make sense only within a system that embraces self-determination, individual rights, economic security, and the rule of law—the very cornerstones of liberal internationalism. The current order may not have realized these principles across the board, but flaws and failures are inherent in all political orders. What is unique about the postwar liberal order is its capacity for self-correction. Even a deeply flawed liberal system provides the institutions through which it can be brought closer to its founding ideals.

However serious the liberal order’s shortcomings may be, they pale in comparison to its achievements. Over seven decades, it has lifted more boats—manifest in economic growth and rising incomes—than any other order in world history. It provided a framework for struggling industrial societies in Europe and elsewhere to transform themselves into modern social democracies. Japan and West Germany were integrated into a common security community and went on to fashion distinctive national identities as peaceful great powers. Western Europe subdued old hatreds and launched a grand project of union. European colonial rule in Africa and Asia largely came to an end. The G-7 system of cooperation among Japan, Europe, and North America fostered growth and managed a sequence of trade and financial crises. Beginning in the 1980s, countries across East Asia, Latin America, and eastern Europe opened up their political and economic systems and joined the broader order. The United States experienced its greatest successes as a world power, culminating in the peaceful end to the Cold War, and countries around the globe wanted more, not less, U.S. leadership. This is not an order that one should eagerly escort off the stage.

To renew the spirit of liberal internationalism, its proponents should return to its core aim: creating an environment in which liberal democracies can cooperate for mutual gain, manage their shared vulnerabilities, and protect their way of life. In this system, rules and institutions facilitate cooperation among states. Properly regulated trade benefits all parties. Liberal democracies, in particular, have an incentive to work together—not only because their shared values reinforce trust but also because their status as open societies in an open system makes them more vulnerable to transnational threats. Gaining the benefits of interdependence while guarding against its dangers requires collective action.

This tradition of liberal internationalism is often traced to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, but the great revolution in liberal thinking actually occurred under Roosevelt in the 1930s. Wilson believed that modernity naturally favored liberal democracy, a view that, decades later, led some liberals to anticipate “the end of history.” In contrast, Roosevelt and his contemporaries saw a world threatened by violence, depravity, and despotism. The forces of modernity were not on the side of liberalism; science, technology, and industry could be harnessed equally for good and evil. For Roosevelt, the order-building project was not an idealistic attempt to spread democracy but a desperate effort to save the democratic way of life—a bulwark against an impending global calamity. His liberalism was a liberalism for hard times. And it is this vision that speaks most directly to today.

Roosevelt’s core impulse was to put the liberal democratic world on a more solid domestic footing. The idea was not just to establish peace but also to build an international order that would empower governments to deliver a better life for their citizens. As early as August 1941, when the United States had not yet entered World War II, Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill articulated this vision in the Atlantic Charter, writing that if the United States and other democracies vanquished the Nazi threat, a new international order would secure “improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security.” In the words of a Chicago journalist writing at the time, the New Deal at home was to lead to a “New Deal for the world.”

Roosevelt’s vision arose from the belief that interdependence generated new vulnerabilities. Financial crises, protectionism, arms races, and war could each spread like a contagion. “Economic diseases are highly communicable,” Roosevelt wrote in a letter to the Bretton Woods conference in 1944. “It follows, therefore, that the economic health of every country is a proper matter of concern to all its neighbors, near and distant.” To manage such interdependence, Roosevelt and his contemporaries envisioned permanent multilateral governance institutions. The idea was not new: since the nineteenth century, liberal internationalists had championed peace congresses, arbitration councils, and, later on, the League of Nations. But Roosevelt’s agenda was more ambitious. International agreements, institutions, and agencies would lie at the heart of the new order. On issue after issue—aviation, finance, agriculture, public health—multilateral institutions would provide a framework for international collaboration.

For better or worse, the United States and the rest of the world are in it together.
Another innovation was to redefine the concept of security. In the United States, the Great Depression and the New Deal brought into existence the notion of “social security,” and the violence and destruction of World War II did the same for “national security.” Both were more than terms of art. They reflected new ideas about the state’s role in ensuring the health, welfare, and safety of its people. “You and I agree that security is our greatest need,” Roosevelt told Americans in one of his fireside chats in 1938. “Therefore,” he added, “I am determined to do all in my power to help you attain that security.” Social security meant building a social safety net. National security meant shaping the external environment: planning ahead, coordinating policies with other states, and fostering alliances. From now on, national governments would need to do much more to accomplish the twin goals of social and national security—both at home and abroad.

What also made Roosevelt’s internationalism unique was that it was tied to a system of security cooperation among the big liberal democracies. The collapse of the post-1919 order had convinced internationalists on both sides of the Atlantic that liberal capitalist democracies would need to come together as a community for their common defense. Free societies and security partnerships were two sides of the same political coin. Even before U.S. President Harry Truman and his successors built on this template, Roosevelt-era internationalists envisaged a grouping of like-minded states with the United States as, in Roosevelt’s words, “the great arsenal of democracy.” With the rise of the Cold War, the United States and its fellow democracies formed alliances to check the Soviet threat. The United States took the lead in fashioning a world of international institutions, partnerships, client states, and regional orders—and it put itself at the center of it all.

In the face of today’s breakdown in world order, the United States and other liberal democracies must reclaim and update Roosevelt’s legacy. As a start, this means learning the right lessons about the failures of the liberal international order in the past three decades. Ironically, it was the success of the U.S.-led order that sowed the seeds of the current crisis. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the last clear alternative to liberalism disappeared. As the liberal order grew from being one-half of a bipolar system to a truly global order, it began to fragment, in part because it no longer resembled a club. Indeed, today’s liberal international order looks more like a sprawling shopping mall: states can wander in and pick and choose what institutions and regimes they want to join. Security cooperation, economic cooperation, and political cooperation have become unbundled, and their benefits can be obtained without buying into a suite of responsibilities, obligations, and shared values. These circumstances have allowed China and Russia to cooperate with the liberal system on an opportunistic, ad hoc basis. To name just one example, membership in the World Trade Organization has given China access to Western markets on favorable terms, but Beijing has not implemented significant measures to protect intellectual property rights, strengthen the rule of law, or level the playing field for foreign companies in its own economy.

To prevent this sort of behavior, the United States and other liberal democracies need to reconstitute themselves as a more coherent and functional coalition. The next U.S. president should call a gathering of the world’s liberal democracies, and in the spirit of the Atlantic Charter, these states should issue their own joint statement, outlining broad principles for strengthening liberal democracy and reforming global governance institutions. The United States could work with its G-7 partners to expand that group’s activities and membership, adding countries such as Australia and South Korea. It could even turn the G-7 into a D-10, a sort of steering committee of the world’s ten leading democracies that would guide the return to multilateralism and rebuild a global order that protects liberal principles. The leaders of this new group could begin by forging a set of common rules and norms for a restructured trading system. They could also establish an agenda for relaunching global cooperation on climate change and confer about preparing for the next viral pandemic. And they should better monitor and respond to China’s efforts to use international organizations to advance its national economic champions and promote its authoritarian mode of governance.
This club of democracies would coexist with larger multilateral organizations, chief among them the United Nations, whose only entry requirement is to be a sovereign state, regardless of whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship. That inclusive approach has its merits, because in many realms of international relations—including arms control, environmental regulation, management of the global commons, and combating pandemic diseases—regime type is not relevant. But in the areas of security, human rights, and the political economy, today’s liberal democracies have relevant interests and values that illiberal states do not. On these fronts, a more cohesive club of democracies, united by shared values, tied together through alliances, and oriented toward managing interdependence, could reclaim the liberal internationalist vision.

A key element of this effort will be to reconnect international cooperation with domestic well-being. Put simply, “liberal internationalism” should not be just another word for “globalization.” Globalization is about reducing barriers and integrating economies and societies. Liberal internationalism, by contrast, is about managing interdependence. States once valued the liberal international order because its rules tamed the disruptive effects of open markets without eliminating the efficiency gains that came from them. In giving governments the space and tools they needed to stabilize their economies, the order’s architects tried to reconcile free trade and free-market capitalism with social protections and economic security. The result was what the scholar John Ruggie has called the compromise of “embedded liberalism”: unlike the economic nationalism of the 1930s, the new system would be multilateral in nature, and unlike the nineteenth-century visions of global free trade, it would give countries some leeway to stabilize their economies if necessary. But by the end of the 1990s, this compromise had begun to break down as borderless trade and investment overran national systems of social protection, and the order became widely seen as a platform for global capitalist and financial transactions.

“Liberal internationalism” should not be just another word for “globalization.”
To counteract this perception, any new liberal international project must rebuild the bargains and promises that once allowed countries to reap the gains from trade while making good on their commitments to social welfare. Economic openness can last in liberal democracies only if its benefits are widely shared. Without sparking a new era of protectionism, liberal democracies need to work together to manage openness and closure, guided by liberal norms of multilateralism and nondiscrimination. “Democracies have a right to protect their social arrangements,” the economist Dani Rodrik has written, “and, when this right clashes with the requirements of the global economy, it is the latter that should give way.” If liberal democracies want to ensure that this right to protection does not trigger destructive trade wars, they should decide its exact reach collectively.

How, then, to deal with China and Russia? Both are geopolitical rivals of the United States, and both seek to undermine Western liberal democracies and the U.S.-led liberal order more generally. Their revisionism has put blunt questions of military power and economic influence back on the diplomatic agenda. But on a deeper level, the threat emanating from these states—particularly from China—only gives more urgency to the liberal international agenda and its focus on the problems of modernity. The struggle between the United States and China is ultimately over which country offers a better road to progress. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s great project is to define an alternative path, a model of capitalism without liberalism and democracy. The jury is out on whether a totalitarian regime can pull this off, and there is reason to be skeptical. But in the meantime, the best way to respond to this challenge is for liberal democracies to work together to reform and rebuild their own model.

It would be a grave mistake for the United States to give up any attempt to rescue the liberal order and instead reorient its grand strategy entirely toward great-power competition. The United States would be forfeiting its unique ideas and capacity for leadership. It would become like China and Russia: just another big, powerful state operating in a world of anarchy, nothing more and nothing less. But in its geography, history, institutions, and convictions, the United States is different from all other great powers. Unlike Asian and European states, it is an ocean away from other great powers. In the twentieth century, it alone among the great powers articulated a vision of an open, postimperial world system. More than any other state, it has seen its national interest advanced by promulgating multilateral rules and norms, which amplified and legitimized American power. Why throw all this away?

There simply is no other major state—rising, falling, or muddling through—that can galvanize the world around a vision of open, rules-based multilateral cooperation. China will be powerful, but it will tilt the world away from democratic values and the rule of law. The United States, for its part, needed the partnership of other liberal states even in earlier decades, when it was more capable. Now, as rival states grow more powerful, Washington needs these partnerships more than ever. If it continues to disengage from the world or engages in it only as a classic great power, the last vestiges of the liberal order will disappear.

And so it is left to the United States to lead the way in reclaiming the core premise of the liberal international project: building the international institutions and norms to protect societies from themselves, from one another, and from the violent storms of modernity. It is precisely at a moment of global crisis that great debates about world order open up and new possibilities emerge. This is such a moment, and the liberal democracies should regain their self-confidence and prepare for the future. As Virgil has Aeneas say to his shipwrecked companions, “Brace up, and save yourself for better times.”

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On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will do something pretty unusual in the age of COVID-19 — travel overseas. Mitsotakis will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel to discuss the resumption of commercial flights between their countries, as well as regional energy politics — two things which have been dramatically disrupted by the pandemic. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is also expected to visit Israel later this month.

The discovery of offshore hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean over a decade ago has sparked intense diplomatic activity. Hoping to maximize the sea’s riches, many of the region’s governments have proposed ambitious projects that would transport the natural gas to Europe via undersea pipelines. Encouraged by U.S. administrations that saw energy development as a vehicle for strengthening ties between its allies, the rough edges of a new regional framework for cooperation slowly took form in January 2019, when the governments of Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority established the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, a multinational body tasked with developing a regional gas market and mechanism for resource development.


COVID-19 has scuttled this momentum. The pandemic’s impact on the global energy market has damaged the conditions for Eastern Mediterranean states to profitably export their gas, and has caused a massive rethink amongst policymakers about how to make the most out of the circumstances. Although regional actors may no longer be bound to building pipelines, energy still has the potential to propel greater regional cooperation in the coming decade. American diplomatic support and engagement would go a long way to turning this opportunity into a reality.

Israel’s Stake in the Eastern Mediterranean

This is a bitter pill for all of the region’s actors to swallow, but perhaps none more so than Israel. Historically bereft of fossil fuels, the discovery of the Tamar and Leviathan fields (in 2009 and 2010, respectively) were seen as a potential game-changer for the Jewish State. The Netanyahu government committed to the concept of gas exports as a strategic boon to Israel, and aggressively pursued a regional policy that embraced partnerships with Greece and Cyprus, as well as export deals with Jordan and Egypt. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz spent most of the last five years promoting the “East Med pipeline” — a 1,900-kilometer undersea pipeline that would link Israel to Italy via Greece and Cyprus.

However, the East Med pipeline — which upon completion would be the longest undersea pipeline in the world — was always more of a political project than a serious commercial endeavor. Not only did the path of the proposed pipeline run through disputed waters between Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, but also active geological fault lines and deep trenches. These geopolitical and technical challenges could theoretically be overcome, yet industry experts argue that the biggest obstacle to the East Med pipeline is its commercial feasibility. With an estimated $7 billion price tag, there are doubts that Israeli and Cypriot gas would remain competitive by the time it arrived in Europe. For several years the European Commission has been exploring the possibility of committing to the pipeline, but at this stage is unlikely to back it financially.

The collapse of global energy prices brought on by the combination of an oversupplied market, warmer-than-average winter, and the coronavirus pandemic, has buried the East Med pipeline and put Israel in a serious quandary. Committed to a contract with Tamar and Leviathan’s developers that no longer meshes with the current economic circumstances, Israel is paying three times the global average for its own gas. The price discrepancy is so sharp that the Israel Electric Corporation is buying imported liquid natural gas at half the price of domestic supply. It is no wonder, then, that Steinitz began his second term in office with declarations that Israel would accelerate its construction of solar energy infrastructure.

The Position of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Turkey

Israel is not alone in this predicament. Almost the entire Eastern Mediterranean is wrestling with similar questions.

The vanishing prospects for the East Med pipeline are as disconcerting for Greece and Cyprus as they are for Israel. Both countries are essential partners in the project. In January 2020, leaders from the three states met in a public demonstration of their commitment to the pipeline (they reportedly signed an agreement but this document has not been made public). Cyprus hoped to link its modest offshore discoveries to the East Med pipeline, and Greece was eager to function as a conduit to Europe. The important difference is that Cyprus’ natural gas fields are not yet operational. In early May, Italy’s ENI, France’s Total, and ExxonMobil announced a year-long suspension of drilling activities in Cyprus’ waters. There are no guarantees that the developers will return with the same interest as they once did, and the remaining export options are costly.

Even operational energy partnerships are facing tough choices. For example, Jordan’s energy arrangement with Israel (45 billion cubic meters over 15 years at an estimated $10 billion) is deeply unpopular because it normalizes ties with a country seen by most Jordanians as a belligerent. With a global energy market that is driving liquid natural gas prices to historic lows, the monarchy is under mounting pressure to find cheaper alternatives. If Israel continues with its plans to partially annex the West Bank, Amman may sacrifice the deal as a symbolic gesture of disapproval even if the underlying causes are economic. Jordan might hope that it could fall back on the United States, as a guarantor in the deal, to cover its debts.

Egypt hoped that offshore discoveries would transform it into a regional energy hub, converting Israeli and Cypriot gas at its liquid natural gas facilities in Idku and Damietta and then shipping them off to Europe. Today, Egypt is struggling to find buyers, has frozen activity at one of its liquid natural gas sites, and cut production at Zohr field. While the Egyptian domestic market is diverse enough to absorb some Israeli imports, this isn’t the long-term arrangement the two parties envisioned some 16 months ago.

No matter where you turn, the Eastern Mediterranean energy picture is bleak. Debt-ridden Lebanon was dismayed by news in late April that initial explorations failed to uncover a meaningful gas field. Politicians in Beirut dreamed that offshore discoveries would deliver an instant economic windfall. But with energy companies announcing a suspension of activities in Cyprus’s waters just a week later — the same companies exploring Lebanese waters — the Lebanese government will have to search elsewhere for a financial bailout.

Meanwhile, Turkey appears to be taking advantage of the regional turmoil by continuing to send exploratory and drilling vessels into Eastern Mediterranean waters. However, these vessels’ purpose is more political than commercial. Spurned by the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum and with no resolution to the Cyprus conflict in sight, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has positioned his military — on land and at sea — to protect Turkish claims to the continental shelf and break what is perceived as strategic containment of Turkey by the region’s actors. Turkish intervention in the Libyan civil war is at least partially driven by Ankara’s desire to break the will of its neighbors and force them into direct negotiations. Not only has this strategy put Turkey at loggerheads with longtime rivals Greece and Cyprus — with whom Turkey shares a long history of maritime boundary disputes — but other actors as well, including the United States.

In the long run, low liquid natural gas prices could become the norm. Some forecast that the present gas glut may continue for nearly a decade as other projects come onto the market. International projects that require costly infrastructure are going to find it difficult to compete with existing liquid natural gas providers and a growing renewable energy industry. Although COVID-19 appears to have undone significant progress in the Eastern Mediterranean, it ironically may have rescued Eastern Mediterranean states from shortsighted investments. Policymakers have benefited from a rare mulligan and can now reassess their regional prospects.

Post-Pandemic Energy Strategy

The first, and most obvious, post-coronavirus strategy, is to keep the gas local. Rather than prioritizing export markets in Europe, the challenge for Eastern Mediterranean states is to diversify their domestic infrastructure and economies to be more gas friendly. This is especially relevant for Egypt, whose domestic demand is only going to increase as its population grows. Emphasizing the regional market will require intense discussions between the main developers and governments to find the appropriate contractual language that suits the involved parties.

But would organizing a regional market assume that all actors can benefit? Over the last decade, offshore hydrocarbons were as much as cause for confrontation between Eastern Mediterranean states as they were an incentive for cooperation. Now that it is clear the gas bonanza won’t arrive as quickly as anticipated, perhaps the region’s actors will consider a recommitment to regional diplomacy and conflict resolution. From the ongoing Libyan civil war to the maritime disputes between Greece and Turkey, there is no shortage of opportunities for those willing to decouple their energy aspirations from their interest in creating a functional regional space.

This is where the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum comes into play. Whereas the forum’s original purpose was to deal with matters pertaining to natural gas, post-COVID it could serve as a platform for discussion on a host of issues, from tourism to environmental protection to pandemic support to alternative energy cooperation and security. If a global pandemic instructs states about anything, it is that neighbors remain neighbors regardless of the boundaries placed between them. In short, it behooves Eastern Mediterranean states to support one another.

America’s Role in the Region

The United States should play a central role in this process. Not only is Washington the preferred mediator for many of the region’s conflicts, but American support for the development of offshore hydrocarbons and regional cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean has been a rare point of bipartisan consensus during both the Obama and Trump administrations, who saw the region’s gas as way to strengthen the position of its Eastern Mediterranean allies while also reducing European dependency on Russian gas. Continued engagement with Eastern Mediterranean actors will allow the United States to guide its partners towards a more cooperative future, help develop deconfliction mechanisms, and discourage interference from outside actors like Russia, Iran, and China.

This should happen in a number of different ways. First, the United States should reengage Eastern Mediterranean states in the process of maritime boundary delimitation. This issue a priority for all of the region’s actors, including European heavyweights France and Italy. In particular, Turkey’s signing of a maritime boundary agreement with Libya’s Government of National Accord in November 2019 sparked considerable protest throughout the region and entangled the ongoing civil war in the Eastern Mediterranean’s energy politics. While the Libyan civil war isn’t the source of all of the region’s tensions, American mediation between the aggrieved parties — notably NATO member states Turkey and Greece — on the issue of maritime boundaries would start rolling back tensions and create a more constructive environment for future negotiations between Turkey and Cyprus. The signing of a maritime boundary agreement between Italy and Greece on June 9 was widely seen as a maneuver to check Turkey’s advance. U.S. diplomats should also encourage Israel and Lebanon to resolve their outstanding maritime issues, which would allow foreign companies to feel more comfortable exploring in Lebanese waters whenever they decide to resume activities. A semi-enclosed maritime space like the Eastern Mediterranean requires delimitation agreements in order to avoid conflict. Ideally, the United States would bring all region’s actors to the negotiating table simultaneously. However, the present conditions necessitate a flexible, hands-on approach to certain disputes.

Additionally, the United States can empower the nascent Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum by investing more diplomatic resources in the organization, and incentivizing collaboration between members states. One way of doing this is by expanding the language of the 2019 Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act (also known as the Menendez-Rubio Bill) in a manner that offers potential avenues for participation by Eastern Mediterranean actors not mentioned in this legislative package, specifically Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, and Turkey. The United States-Eastern Mediterranean Energy Center described in the Menendez-Rubio Bill could be a conduit for multinational research and development in the myriad topics that are directly and indirectly impacted by offshore hydrocarbon exploration. This could open channels of communication between American and Eastern Mediterranean industries, strengthening both economic, cultural, and strategic interests.

Going Forward

For the better part of the last decade, it was expected that energy would transform the Eastern Mediterranean. However, the pandemic’s aftershocks have disrupted the prospects for regional cooperation. A collective pivot — with American support — away from the uncertain promises of energy could be a blessing in disguise. It provides regional states the opportunity to embrace a shared future that emphasizes energy diversification, multinational cooperation, and conflict resolution.

Although the United States appears committed to reducing its presence on the global stage, it should preserve and expand energy-centric multilateral diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean that enjoys bipartisan support. The region is rich with American partners — a lasting foreign policy legacy would be finding a formula that would allow them to settle their own disputes and find new ways to cooperate.


This article taken from

This article written by Gabriel Mitchell.

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Since the beginning of the human history Africa is always a magical place for the rest of the world. The nature, beauty and different mentality of its people always attracted outsiders. In our time although most of the continent are now considered to be modern and safe there are still some countries who could not solve their issues regarding the safety of its people and tourists. Here is a list of African countries from the very dangerous to the unsafe. The list has prepared through the warnings of US State Department.


Central African Republic

Crime, Civil Unrest, Kidnapping or Hostage Taking

Right now, violent crimes such as armed robbery, battery, and homicide are common in the country. The State Department says many areas of the Central African Republic are currently controlled by armed groups who regularly kidnap, hurt, and even kill civilians.

The State Department warns of demonstrations currently happening in the Central African Republic, and notes that even demonstrations that began peacefully have been known to escalate into violence. The crime in the middle of the country is said to be the most frequent, with armed robberies and kidnappings being commonplace.

The Department also says in the event of unrest or catastrophe, transportation and border access could be closed with little to no notice, and the U.S. government would have a difficult time assisting American citizens in need of evacuation.

Traveler Lee Abbamonte’s experiences in the Central African Republic in 2016 reflected the uneasy and chaotic state of the country. Despite being extremely well traveled, he concluded that the danger of traveling outside the capital city of Bangui is “not worth the risk.”


Crime, Terrorism, Civil Unrest, Kidnapping, Armed Conflict

The State Department is advising travelers to avoid travel to Libya due to the high threat of crime and kidnapping for ransom. The Department says the risk is especially high for Westerners and U.S. citizens.

Terrorism is also a concern in Libya. Violent extremist activity is common in the country, with groups making threats against the United States on a regular basis.Terrorists have been known to target tourist hotspots like hotels, malls, and transportation hubs. Currently, the State Department recognizes four different terrorist groups, including ISIS, as threats to American travelers in Libya.

The general civil unrest in the country is also a concern for visiting tourists. Large cities in Libya such as Tripoli and Surman have seen frequent armed conflicts and terrorist attacks.

Risk of attack on commercial transportation might be the biggest threat in Libya. Some airports in the country are closed altogether, and flights out of others have the possibility of being cancelled without notice. The FAA has even issued a “Special Federal Aviation Regulation” prohibiting certain flights in and out of Libya.

If not for the current unstable nature of the country, Libya would still be a popular tourist destination given its ancient sites and exotic landscapes. But because of the strife, many Libyan tour companies have ceased operation.


Crime, Terrorism, Kidnapping

The State Department is telling travelers to avoid Mali because of frequent troubles with violent crime such as kidnapping and armed robbery. Northern and central Mali are said to be the worst areas for these problems. Violent crime is also prevalent in the country during local holidays and seasonal events. Visitors should expect frequent interference and roadblocks as police try to address the problem.

The political instability of the country is also a cause for concern. A peace agreement in the northern area of the country in 2015 has been slow to take effect, with militia groups regularly turning to violence to exert their influence in the area.

Terrorism and kidnapping are also concerns in Mali, as attackers often target tourist areas including hotels, restaurants, clubs, and Western diplomatic missions.

In 2017, armed terrorists killed five people at a tourist resort near the capital of Bamako. Two years prior, in 2015, 170 people were held hostage at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. Over 25 people were killed by terrorists in that takeover.

The United States also isn’t able to assist citizens who might find themselves in trouble in northern Mali, as security concerns prohibit government employees from entering the area.

Like in Libya, the FAA has issued a “Notice to Airmen” in Mali, telling civil aviation operators that they are at risk of being fired upon if they choose to fly at certain altitudes over Mali or land at Malian airports.


Crime, Terrorism, Kidnapping, Piracy

Piracy has long been associated with the country of Somalia. Pirates are active off the Horn of Africa, especially in international waters.

The U.S. State Department also warns of the risk of kidnapping and murder in Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland, and those moving around the country should expect to see illegal roadblocks.

Terrorism is common in Somalia as well, with terrorists continuing to plan and enact kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in high-traffic areas like airports, seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, and other venues where lots of people are gathered. Westerners, including U.S. citizens, are often targeted by terrorist groups.

Schools acting as “cultural rehabilitation” centers are also operating around Somalia, and have been known to hold people against their will.

There has also been a risk of cross-border violence along the stretch of land that divides Somalia and Kenya. Large scale attacks by insurgent group al-Shabab have been known to target aid workers and civilians.

Al-Shabab has thousands of members, and the United States has carried out dozens of airstrikes in Somalia over recent years targeting the organization.

Like in Libya and Mali, the FAA has issued a “Notice to Airmen” flying civil aircraft at lower altitudes over Somalia given the high risk of terrorist and militant activity.

Travel blogger and entrepreneur Johnny Ward tells the story of his trip to Somalia, where his flight out of the country ended up being cancelled because al-Shabab was attacking the airport he was scheduled to depart from.


Crime, Terrorism, Civil Unrest, Kidnapping Armed Conflict

As of April 11, 2019, the State Department ordered the departure of all non-emergency government employees from Sudan.

There is a national state of emergency across Sudan, which gives security forces increased power and authorizes the use of force and arrest across the country. Foreigners and nationals have been detained. Security forces are able to arrest anyone they think is upsetting the public order, including protestors.

Demonstrations, rallies, roadblocks, checkpoints, and curfews are prone to occur without warning throughout Sudan.

Much of the tension comes from the standoff between the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and opposition forces. Armed opposition forces are active along the border between Chad and Sudan. Central Darfur as well as southern regions such as the Blue Nile and South Kordofan are also at high risk for militant conflict.

In 2017, a journalist recounted his dangerous experience in Darfur, saying he was kidnapped, tortured, and thrown in jail.

Terrorist groups are also active in the country, and look to target Westerners through suicide bombings, kidnappings, and shootings.

South Sudan

Crime, Kidnapping, Armed Conflict

The State Department is telling travelers to steer clear of South Sudan in part because of common violent crime. Carjackings, robberies, kidnappings, and other shootings are prevalent in the country, and the State Department says foreign nationals have even been victims of sexual assault and rape.

Conflict between various ethnic and political groups is ongoing throughout South Sudan, and travelers are at risk of being caught in the middle of it all. Like in Mali, the United States government has a limited ability to help American citizens in need in South Sudan, even though there is a U.S. embassy in the capital city of Juba.

It is especially dangerous for journalists to visit the country, as many have described being harassed while working in South Sudan. Some have even been killed.

Aid workers are another group at risk in South Sudan, with humanitarian efforts often targeted by armed grou


Many Countries In Africa Have Level 3 Designations

A Level 3 designation from the State Department means the U.S. government urges travelers to reconsider visiting these countries in light of safety concerns.

Countries with a Level 3 designation include:

Burkina Faso: Crime, Terrorism, Kidnapping
Burundi: Crime, Armed Conflict
Chad: Crime, Terrorism, Minefields
Comoros: Civil Unrest
Democratic Rep. of the Congo: Crime, Civil Unrest, Health Risks, Kidnapping/Hostage Taking
Guinea-Bissau: Elections, Crime, Civil Unrest
Mauritania: Crime, Terrorism
Niger: Crime, Terrorism, Kidnapping
Nigeria: Crime, Terrorism, Civil Unrest, Kidnapping, Piracy



Visits: 540


Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı became the new President of Foreign Policy Institute. Founder of the Institute Seyfi Taşhan will continue with the Institute as the Founder President.


A short cv of Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı is as follows;


M.A. Bonn University; Ph.D. Bonn University

Research Interests: 

Contemporary Issues in International Security, The New Order and The Security of Europe, Foreign Policy of Germany, Foreign Policy of Turkey.

  • Bağcı, Hüseyin; Gaudino, U. (2020). Involving Turkey in EU Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policies. Eurasian Research Journal , 2 (1) , 7-27
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Uçan Profesör”ün Anıları. Orion Kitabevi, Aralık 2019.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Türkische Sicherheitspolitik Mittelpunkt des neuen geopolitischen Kordi- natensystems”.  Internationale Politik, 111/198, pp. 29-34.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Erdurmaz, Serdar. “Die Türkei als friedensmacheroderordnungsbrecher im syrischen Bürgerkrieg” in Türkei – Schlüsselakteur für die EU? Eine schwierige Partnerschaft in turbulenten Zeiten, Schriftenreihe des Arbeitskreises Europäische Integration. (Band 103, Nomos, Baden-Baden 2018. ISBN 978-3-8487-4497-8)
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, Yeni Güvenlik Politikalari ve Risk Analizi Çerçevesinde Balkanlar 1991-1993. Dis Politika Enstitüsü, Mart 1994, 141 sayfa, ISBN 975-7832-06-5. (New Security Policy and Risk Analysis in the Case of the Balkans 1991-1993, Foreign Policy Institute Publications, March 1994,141 pp. Ankara.)
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, Almanya: Yeni Bir Dünya Gücü, Dis Politika Enstitüsü Almanya Arastirmalari Çalisma Grubu Yayini, No.1, Mayis 1992. 22 s. (Germany: A New World Power?, Foreign Policy Institute Research Group Germany Publication.) Number 1, May 1992, 22 pp.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, Demokrat Parti Dönemi Dis Politikasi 1950-1960. Imge Yayinevi Kasim 1990. Ankara. 184 s. (Turkish Foreign Policy During Menderes Government 1950-1960, Imge Publishing House, November 1990, Ankara, 184 pp.)
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “Demokratik Bir Arnavutluk: Türkiye için Yeni Bir Ortak” Strateji, No.1, Ocak 1995, Ankara, s.35-46. (“A Demokratik Albania: A New Partner For Turkey”), Strateji, Number 1, January 1995, Ankara, 35-46.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “Turken in Duitsland: Wegbereiders van een Multiculturele Maatschappij?” (Turks in Germany, the Peacemaker for a Multicultural Soceity?) in Zicht op Duitsland edited by J. De Piere and D. Rochtus (red.) Leuven-Apeldoorn. 1994, pp.193-201.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “Bosna-Hersek: Soguk Savas Sonrasi Anlasmazliklara Giris,” DTCF Dergisi, Cilt XVI, Sayi 27, Ankara 1994 s.257-279. (“Bosnia-Herzegovina: Introduction into the Conflicts After the Cold War,” Publication of Faculty Letters,Ankara University, D.T.C.F.Journal, Vol. XVl, Number 27, Ankara,1995.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “Demokrat Partinin Ortadogu Politikasi”, in: Faruk Sönmezoglu Türk Dis Politikasinin Analizi, Der Yayinlari, Istanbul 1994, S.89-121 (The Middle East Policy of Democrat Party from 1950 to 1960)
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, Balkanlardaki Gelismeler ve Türkiye, Türk Demokrasi Vakfi Bülteni, Mart 1993, Ankara, Sayi.14, s.26-32 (The Developments in the Balkans and Turkey).
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, Integration ohne Assimilation, Im Gespräch, Herausgegeben von der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 3.Vierteljahr 3-1993, Sankt Augustin, Ss.24-25.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “Turkey’s Foreign Policy Options” in the New International Security Environment, Folk Ogforsvar- Kontaktblad Nr. 1, 1993, Oslo, Pp.13-16 (Translated into Norwegian Language)
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, & Kaymakçılar, Murat. “Privatization of Security and Its Impact on National and International Security”, Biannual Journal of the Foreign Policy Institute, Temmuz 2016, 43 (1). 31-56.
  • Bağci, Hüseyin. “Die Probleme der Türkischen Grand Strategy in einer sich verändernden Sicherheitsumwelt: Gestern und Heute”. na, 2000.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Changing geopolitics and Turkish foreign policy”. Internat. Inst. für Liberale Politik Wien. 2009.
  • Bagci, Hüseyin. “Türkische Außenpoltik nach dem Luxemburger EU-Gipfel vom Dezember 1997: Europäisch ohne Europa?.” Jahrbuch für internationale Sicherheitspolitik. 1999. 579-603.
  • Bagci, Hüseyin. “Die Turkei und die NATO-Osterweiterung: Innen und Aussenpolitische Reaktionen”. Die Debatte über die Kosten dr NATO-Osterweiterung. 1998. 133-141.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “11 Eylül Sonrası Dönemde Türk Dış ve Güvenlik Politikalarındaki Gelişmeler ve Yeni Parametreler.” (Eds. İçli, Tülin Günşen, & Karaosmanoğlu, Fatih). Uluslararası Polislik ve İç Güvenlik . 2006. 939-945.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Aydın, Aziz. “Dünyada ve Türkiye’de Düşünce Kuruluşu Kültürü.” Türkiye’de Stratejik Düşünce Kültürü ve Stratejik Araştırma Merkezleri: Başlangıcından Bugüne Türk Düşünce Kuruluşları. (Eds. Karaosmanoğlu, Hasan Ali, & Kanbolat, Hasan). Ankara, Nobel (2009): 57-124.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Reaction by Hüseyin Bağcı to Turkey’s identity and strategy–a game of three-dimensional chess by Baran, Zeyno, and Ian O. Lesser ” Powers and Principles: International Leadership in a Shrinking World. (Eds. Schiffer, Michael, & Shorr, David). 2009. 197-224.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Kurç. Çağlar. “Turkey’s strategic choice: buy or make weapons?.” Defence Studies 17, (1). 2017. 38-62.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Açıkalın, Şuay Nilhan. “From Chaos to Cosmos: Strategic Depth and Turkish Foreign Policy in Syria.” Chaos, Complexity and Leadership 2013. Springer, Cham, 2015. 11-25.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Strategic Depth in Syria from the Beginning to Russian Intervention”. Valdai Papers 37. December 2015.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Kardaş, Şaban. “Post-September 11 Impact: The Strategic Importance of Turkey Revisited.” CEPS/IISS for the European Security Forum, Brussels, Belgium. 2003.
  • Bagci, Hüseyin, and Erdurmaz, Serdar. “Libya and Turkey’s expansion policy in Africa.” JANUS. NET, e-journal of International Relations 8.2 (2017).
  • Bagci, Hüseyin, and Erdurmaz, Serdar. “Turkey-Russia Relations in the Era of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). From Honeymoon to Separation and Reconciliation Again.” Security Narratives in Europe. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, 2017.
  • Günay, Mehmet, et al. “Die Türkei zwischen Europäischer Union und Mittlerem Osten. Diskussion mit Mehmet Günay, Christiane Schlötzer, Hüseyin Bağcı.” (2017). 63-84.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “11 Eylül Sonrası Dönemde Türk Dış ve Güvenlik Politikalarındaki Gelişmeler ve Yeni Parametreler.” 21. Yüzyıl’da Türk Dış Politikası. (Ed. İdris Bal). 2006. 939-945.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. Zamanın ruhu: Küresel Politikalar ve Türkiye Yazıları. Orion Yayınevi, 2007.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. Zeitgeist: Global Politics and Turkey. Orion Kitabevi, 2008.
  • Bağcı,Hüseyin. “Türkiye’ye Soğuk Savaşta Biçilen Elbise Artık Dar Gelmektedir”. Mülakatlarla Türk Dış Politikası. Cilt 4. USAK. 2011. 1-16.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Kurç. Çağlar. “Nur Probleme: Wie die Türkei wieder zu einem ehrlichen Makler im Nahen Osten werden kann”. Konrad Adenauer Stiftung: Aufstieg und Fall regionaler Mächte. 3. 2016. 36-47.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Hüseyin Bağcı’nın Değerlendirmeleri ve Konuşması”. Ortadoğu’da Yaşanan Gelişmeler ve Yansımalar: Yuvarlak Masa Toplantısı. Türkiye Barolar Birliği Yayınları, 2016. 125-127.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Turkish Reaction to the EU Approach”. Looking into the Future of Cyprus-EU Relations. (Ed. Susanne Baier-Allen). 1999. 39-50.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Die Türkische Aussenpolitik 1945-1956”. Nationale Aussen-und Bündnispolitik der NATO-Mitgliedstaaten.(Eds. Wiggershaus, Norbert, and Heinemann, Winfried). Vol. 2. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Güllü, Hasan Hilmi. “Year 2015: the moment of truth for the “Resolution Process” of the Kurdish issue in Turkey.” JANUS 2015-2016-Integração regional e multilateralismo (2016): 82-83.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “The Prospects for the Future Turkey-European Union Relations”. Die Türkei, der Deutsche Sprachraum und Europa. (Eds. Arntz, Reiner, and Gehler, Michael, and Öncü, Mehmet Tahir). 2014. 403-418.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. “Turkish foreign policy in post cold war era: New Problems and Opportunities.”  Turkish foreign policy in post cold war era. (Ed. and İdris Bal.). 2004. 97-118.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin. & Sinkaya, Bayram. “The Greater Middle East Initiative and Turkey: the AKP’s Perspective”. The Importance of Being European. (Eds. Goreni, Nimrod, and Nachmani, Amikam). 2007. 165-177.
  • Whelan, Richard. “El-Kaidecilik, İslam‟ a Tehdit, Dünya‟ ya Tehdit.” Çev: Hüseyin Bağcı, Bayram Sinkaya ve Pınar Arıkan. Ankara: Platin Yayınları. 2006.
  • Kühnhardt, Ludger. Devrim Zamanları. Çev: Hüseyin Bağcı, Ankara: ASAM Yayınları. 2002.
  • Kinder, H., and W. Hilgemann. “Dünya Tarihi Atlası”. (Ed. Hüseyin Bağcı). Çev: Leyla Uslu.” Ankara: ODTÜ Yayıncılık. 2006.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin., & Erçetin, Şefika Şule. (Eds.). Handbook of Research on Chaos and Complexity Theory in the Social Sciences. Information Science Reference. 2016.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Kardaş, Şaban. “Exploring Turkey’s role in peace operations: Towards a framework of analysis.” Contemporary Issues in International Politics: Essays in Honour of Seyfi Tashan. 125-145
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “Turken in Duitsland: Wegbereiders vaneenMulticulturele Maatschappij?” (Turks in Germany, the Peacemaker for aMulticulturalSoceity?) in Zicht op Duitsland edited by J. De Piere and D. Rochtus (red.) Leuven-Apeldoorn. 1994, pp.193-201.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, “EuropasiehtDeutschland: Türkei und Deutschland – Nachbarn, Partner, Freunde?” in Neue Fragen and den Rechtsstaat edited by R.Rollinger and H.Buch, V&R Uni Press,2009, pp. 117-126.
  • Bağcı, Hüseyin, and Erdurmaz, Serdar, “Die Türkei als ‘Friedensmacher’ oder ‘Ordnungsbrecher’ im  syrischen Bürgerkrieg in Türkei – Schülüsselakteur für die EU? Edited by B.Neuss and A.Nötzold (eds.), Baden – Nomos, 2018, pp.275-290.
Visits: 575


Since the beginning of the history of humanity nations established alliances with others to protect temselves from the third parties. There were several great alliances in the history and the most memorable could be the alliances during the WWII. What about current alliances bewteen nations. According to Wikipedia, this is the situation;

Current military-security alliances



Economic Community of Central African States Angola Burundi Cameroon Chad Central African Republic Democratic Republic of the Congo Gabon Republic of the Congo Equatorial Guinea São Tomé and Príncipe



North America


South America


Africa and Asia

  • Arab League Arab League Saudi Arabia Yemen United Arab Emirates Bahrain Oman Iraq Syria Jordan Lebanon Egypt Libya Tunisia Algeria Morocco State of Palestine Sudan Djibouti Somalia Comoros Kuwait Qatar Mauritania
  • Islamic Military Alliance (IMAFT), a 34-member alliance based at a joint command center in RiyadhSaudi Arabia. Its creation was first announced by Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the Saudi Minister of Defense, on December 14, 2015. Saudi Arabia Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Mali Mauritania Sudan Somalia Chad Nigeria Niger United Arab Emirates Yemen Qatar Bahrain Turkey Pakistan Bangladesh Malaysia Djibouti Benin Kuwait Lebanon Maldives Oman State of Palestine Senegal Sierra Leone Togo Gabon Eritrea Comoros Ivory Coast Afghanistan

Africa and South America



North America and Africa

North America and Asia

North America and Europe

  • Flag of NATO.svg NATOEnlarged from 1999 to include eastern European states. North Atlantic Treaty only covers European, North American, and French Algerian (now independent and therefore not in force) territory. United States United Kingdom France Canada Belgium Denmark Iceland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Portugal Greece Turkey Germany Spain Czech Republic Hungary Poland Bulgaria Estonia Latvia Lithuania Romania Slovakia Slovenia Albania CroatiaMontenegro

North America and Oceania



Visits: 377


A New Face for

Foreign Policy institute website was established more than 30 years ago. Since then, the preferance of generations have also changed. While maintaining serious and informative character of the contents of this website, we hope our followers will find more varied content and richer input. Richer in variety and analytic content. We always expect contributions and comments of our followers as well as their crituque and any articles they would like to provide for our readers contributions section.

Visits: 254




The Leader of Turkish Foreign Policy is Becoming a Distinguished Figure in World Politics


Since becoming the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has encountered many problems facing Turkey’s foreign relations. It is likely that the challenges he faced in the span of a year would far exceeds what his counterpart from a Scandinavian country could in his life time. Turkey is an exceptionally dynamic country due to its geographical position as well as demographic structure, which also makes it uniquely positioned to address regional problems.

When Mr. Çavuşoğlu assumed office, Turkey was already facing severe problems like the Syrian conflict, ISIS, the PKK, migration to Europe through Turkey, the interminable issues in Cyprus, among a myriad of other issues. Coping with one of those problems is quite a feat but handling all of them together at the same time needs a very hard-working mind.

Çavuşoğlu’s educational background and previous positions at the Council of Europe and work with UNDP made him the ideal candidate to assume the onerous task of managing Turkey’s international relations.

Following his first day in office, in August 2014, dramatic events have increased his responsibilities even more. He was immediately tested by a hostage crisis as 48 of Musul Consulate employees were held hostage by ISIS for 101 days but this crisis was peacefully solved within Çavuşoğlu’s first month in office. Soon after, in November 2015, Turkish jets downed a Russian fighter plane triggering an enormous crisis between Turkey and Russia. Solving such a crisis and normalizing Turkish-Russian relations took years and serious efforts by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and by Mr. Çavuşoğlu.

Çavuşoğlu also demonstrated great adroitness in managing the fallout from domestic terrorism. There were major explosions in Ankara between October 2015 and March 2016, which caused hundreds of people to lose their lives. The reverberations from those attacks were felt all around the world and dealing with this issue needed much delicate diplomatic experience.

On July 15, 2016, FETÖ (Fethullah Terrorist Organization) attempted a coup to takeover Turkey. The attempt was not successful but cost hundreds of Turkish lives. Following the attempt, there were mixed messages from around the world. Some of them condemned the attempt while some expressed ambivalence. A deep analysis following the attempt has shown that FETÖ has established a parallel governance network both in the government and military as Gülen’s thralls had taken over key positions and engorged on Turkey’s wealth to enrich themselves.

Alerting the world to the dangers of FETÖ became the main task of Mr. Çavuşoğlu and the Turkish Foreign Ministry. FETÖ not only has ties through its schools in almost every country but has managed to obscure its hidden agenda by posing as a charitable group. Mr. Çavuşoğlu, therefore, has the difficult objective of telling this situation to all possible countries and convincing them to sever their ties with FETÖ. This is obviously a very tiring job.

In December 2016 the Russian Ambassador Karlov was assassinated by a police officer in Ankara. It was later understood that the police officer was a member of FETÖ. This has put additional burden to the shoulders of Mr. Çavuşoğlu as at that time the relations between Turkey and Russia was already very tense because of the plane incident. It is a diplomatic miracle that Turkey and Russia maintain close relations and continue to cooperate on various issues.

One of the main issues troubling Turkey today is the Syrian problem. Turkey officially deployed its military in Syria in August 2016 but not before 4 million Syrian refugees, many of whom still live in Turkish cities and refugee camps. This is a huge domestic and international problem which is not possible to be solved in a close future. In September 2015, a substantial group of immigrants started moving to Europe. This group was mostly comprised of Syrians but not limited only with them. Turkey permitted this migration as a reaction to the insensitive declarations of European nations relating to the Syrian refugee problem. The EU immediately became aware of the looming problem and were convinced to provide financial help to Turkey so as to take care of the refugees. That was a great diplomatic success by Turkish Government and of course by Mr. Çavuşoğlu.

Not all of Turkey’s problems have had such smooth conclusions and required great diplomatic efforts to resolve. In March 2017, a Turkish Minister was accosted by the Dutch government because of her community engagement efforts with the Turks living in the Netherlands. Due to the rising influence of right-wing sentiments in that country, the Dutch authorities did not allow her to engage the Turkish community and the minister was detained by the Dutch police. The traditionally robust relations between Turkey and the Netherlands reached a nadir as Turkish citizens communicated their disapproval through demonstrations against the Dutch government. Coping with this crisis was also a very difficult task but the relationship between the two countries have thankfully returned to its traditional course.

President Erdoğan is unsparing in his criticism of injustice around the world. This quality has led him to verbally clash with Israel, Greece, US, Germany, Syria, Holland, and the EU on occasion. Unfortunately, states rarely learn from criticism and international politics rarely appreciates such candor. Carrying out the functions of a foreign minister for such a forthright President needs extra work due to the need to mend fences with easily-offended countries. As Çavuşoğlu successfully fulfilled that task for a very long time, while also succeeding in establishing the direction of Turkish foreign policy, he became a central figure in global diplomacy. Time and again Çavuşoğlu showcased the hallmarks of a great diplomat and therefore commands respect in the international arena.


Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu CV

Visits: 283

Sovyet Tehdidinin Gölgesinde Türk Dış Politikası Kuzey Afrika Örneği- Numan Hazar



İkinci Dünya Savaşı öncesi ve sonrasında vuku bulan iki temel gelişme üzerinde  ileri sürülen iddialar Türk Kamuoyunda hala tartışılmaktadır. ” Sovyetler Birliği İkinci Dünya Savaşı ertesinde Türkiye’den toprak ve Boğazlarda üs talebinde bulunmuş mudur?” ” Cezayir’in bağımsızlık savaşında Türkiye Fransa’dan yana mı tutum takınmıştır.”

E. Büyükelçi Numar Hazar, bu kitapta bu iki konuyu Dışişleri Bakanlığı arşivlerinde yaptığı titiz incelemelerden sonra ulaştığı bilgilere dayanarak aydınlatmaktadır.

Seyfi Taşhan

Dış Politika Ensititüsü Başkanı



Kitabı satın almak isteyen okurlarımız,  Dış Politika Enstitüsü’nün mail adresine mail atarak kitap talebinde bulunabilirsiniz.

Numan Hazar- Sovyet Tehdidinin Gölgesinde Türk Dış Politikası Kuzey Afrika Örneği adlı kitabın ücreti 25 TL’dir.(Kargo dahil değildir.)

İletişim Bilgileri


Telefon : 0 (312) 478 52 50

Visits: 82

Internship Program

We have both winter and summer internship programs for university students. 

If you send your CV, we will return to you about our internship program.

Our Contact Information:


Phone: +90 312 478 52 50

Visits: 224

35. Anniversary Issue – Cold War Years -Seyfi Taşhan

Cold War Years


Seyfi Taşhan

Foreign policy formation in the United States is not always determined solely by military exigencies and Turkish-U.S. relations are affected generally from other overriding variable factors. There are four dates which signify turning points in the Turkish-U.S. relations. A review of what has happened on those dates would indicate the ups and downs of the Turkish-U.S. relations.


 I believe there are four dates which signify turning points in the Turkish-U.S. relations. A review of what has happened on those dates would indicate the ups and downs of the Turkish-U.S. rela­tions and how statesmen of both countries have addressed them­selves to the issues.

The first significant date is January 18, 1927 when the United States Senate, by six votes short, rejected the Treaty of Lausanne under the pressure of strong Armenian and church opposition which prevailed under an atmosphere of partisan political struggle. The Treaty, which ran almost parallel to the other Lausanne Treaty signed between Turkey and her former enemies, sought to regula­rize Turkey’s diplomatic relations with the United States, ended ca­pitulations and brought most favored nation treatment principles. At that time the Turkish reaction was expressed by Kemal Atatürk. As quoted by Ambassador Joseph Grew Atatürk said there was no foundamental reason why the United States and Turkey should not exist in complete harmony. He could not understand, however. «how it was possible in a country where culture and civilization form the keynote of the social fabric of the nation, that a fanatical minority could impose its will on an enlightened majority.»

This Congressional attitude, however, did not prevent the estab­lishment of diplomatic relations, nor did it assume a permanent character of hostility on the part of the U.S. Congress, although anti-Turkish propaganda has continued on and off to blacken the Turkish image in the United States.

In the subsequent years it was possible to maintain mutually satisfactory relations because the basic objective of the United Sta­tes was confined to the protection of its traditional missionary, phi­lanthropic, cultural and economic interests in Turkey. Since U.S. was politically disinterested until the Second World War in the Middle East, there was no conflict of interest. During the same period United States was a good trade partner for Turkey’s traditional agri­cultural products. In the 1923-1941 the balance of trade between the two countries every year favored Turkey. From 1920s to 1939, the political non-involvement of the United States was a factor of great weight in determining the American role in the Turkish eco­nomic development. One interesting constant picture has been the nature of Turkish exports to the United States. Tobacco accounted for 73 % of Turkish exports to the United States in 1938 and in 1976 it accounted for almost  90 % of Turkey’s exports to the same country.

The United States was in the second place as the purchaser of Turkish goods, and seventh as an exporter to Turkey. Capital goods constituted fifty per cent of American exports. Outside one or two still-born attempts, U.S. capital Investments in Turkey, were negligible. The reasons given for this, lies more in the Turkish atti­tude towards foreign capital. The new republic, which was still under the shadows of the Ottoman capitulations, “tended to judge con­siderations of a national character from a political, rather than from an economical standpoint.” I believe this observation still maintains its validity.

In the international political scene there was not any major problem or conflict between the United States interests and those of Turkey. It might be worthwhile to mention, though, the United States attitude concerning the Turkish Straits. This attitude was initially formulated by President Wilson in his program for Peace of January 8 ,1918. In Point Twelve dealing with the Ottoman Empire he said in part: “… and the Dardanelles should be permanently ope­ned as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.” In early 1930s when Turkey be­came rather concerned with the security of the Straits due to the rise of the power of the Axis and informed the signatories of the Lausanne Treaty of its intention to revise the status, it also infor­med the United States. The United States then thought that it had no treaty right, direct or indirect with respect to the Straits Conven­tion or any concern with  the military and political aspects of the

problem. U.S. maintained this position until the end of the Second World War.

The United States attitude towards the Middle East and Turkey began to change somewhat during the Second World War. By the beginning of the War, Turkey had a clear idea of the intentions and ambitions of Stalin concerning both the Turkish Straits and the revival of Tsarist ambitions to reach “warm waters”. Turkey was also threatened by Mussolini and the expansionist danger of Nazi Germany. In order not to be dragged into the war from which Turkey had no chance of coming out intact and independent, Turkish leaders were forced to play the delicate policy of balance. On December 3, 1941 President Roosevelt extended “lend-lease” assistance to Turkey. In 1944 he declared that the United States had vital interests in the Middle East, although the British Government was held responsible for Allied actions in the area. The “lend-lease” was not made subject of an agreement between the two countries but during the War Turkey continued to receive American defense material and services. An agreement was signed only on February 23,1945 which stipulated that the aid would terminate at the end of the War, which was soon to come, and Turkey would be left only to whatever military aid she could get from Great Britain.

During the War, against Turkish worries about Russia, the U.S. interest was focused on the war with the Axis and Japan and a somewhat wishful-thinking prevailed about the Soviet Union. It is for this reason that the U.S. had a benevolent attitude at Yalta and Postdam towards Soviet requests concerning the Turkish Straits. Furthermore, the United States did not favor the entry of Turkey into active war against Germany. In 1944, the United States Chief of Staff indicated their approval in principle but warned that the United States should not be committed to military, naval or air support of any campaign in the Balkans. This was due to U.S. concentration on the Western Front.


The second date which marks another milestone in Turkish-U.S. relations is March 12, 1947 when President Truman announced his famous Doctrine in a joint sitting of the U.S. Congress. The proclamation of this Doctrine not only marked a change In U.S.- Turkish relations but in the global policies of the U.S. as well. I need not outline here at length the details of the developments that led to this change, but refer briefly to several points which culminated in the reassessment of the U.S. policies.

It was as far back as in 1940. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov had proposed Germany as the Soviet price for collaboration with the Axis, a new regime for the Turkish Straits, with bases and provision of joint defense and had declared that the center of gravity of Soviet policy and interest lay in the area south of Baku and Batum. The Soviet policy did not change after the War.

During the Potsdam Conference, Soviet Union wanted to have the question of Straits and Soviet territorial demands on Turkey to be taken up directly between Turkey and the Soviet Union. While President Truman disagreed with the first, he agreed that the latter could be resolved between the two countries.

The change in the U.S. credulence in peaceful intentions of the Soviet Union did not come abruptly. First, change came in 1945 when the United States came close to Turkish view regarding the Russian demands on the Turkish Straits and in 1946, U.S. began to be interested in the territorial integrity of Turkey. On April 6, 1946 on the occasion of the Army Day, President Truman expressed U.S. interest in the Middle East area where he stressed no country had interests which could not be reconciled with those of other nations through the United Nations. The same day U.S. battleship Missouri was paying a visit to İstanbul. As early as in January 1946 President Truman was convinced that the Soviets intended to attack Turkey. Unless they were “faced with an iron fist and strong language, another war was in making.”

Soviet pressures on Turkey, which were conducted in keeping with Lenin’s famous teaching: “In a bayonet attack when you hit mush continue; when you hit rock withdraw,” did not disappear but res­cinded in the face of the resolute attitude of the Turkish Government and people, and the reaction of the United States and Great Britain. The change of attitude of the United States did not originate from Soviet menace on Turkey alone. The Soviets had probably overplay­ed their hands in the entire area. Greece was immersed in a civil war, where the Communists seemed determined to take over, and in Iran they were attempting to set up pro-Soviet regional governments. It was the regional character of the Soviet challenge that actually led to American action to defend Greece, Turkey and Iran.

For a white there was a division of opinion in the United States concerning military support to Turkey. Britain had expressed its de­cision to abondon their military aid to Turkey. George Kennan, one of President Truman’s major foreign policy advisors was of the op­inion that emphasis should have been placed on “firmness of dip­lomatic stance, not on military preparations.” His fear was that U.S. military aid might provoke Soviet aggression. However, the United States did in the end decide to come to provide military aid to Tur­key. Kennan suspected that “what had really happened was that the Pentagon had exploited a favorable set of circumstances in or­der to infiltrate a military aid program for Turkey in what was sup­posed to be primarily a political and economic program for Greece.”

Nevertheless, in his message to the U.S. Congress on March 12, 1947 President Truman was announcing his Doctrine by declaring that the United States was prepared to assist both Greece and Tur­key in defending their independence. If Greece fell under the cont­rol of an armed minority its effect on Turkey would be immediate and serious and confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the Middle East. For this purpose he asked an allocation of four hundred million dollars of aid to be spent for supporting the shat­tered economy of Greece and provide military aid both to Turkey and Greece. Deterrence against Soviet armed aggression had become one of the general goals of the United States foreign policy. Mars­hall Plan, Korean War, formation of NATO, CENTO and SEATO in the following years might be considered as concrete steps towards this foreign policy goal on which there seemed to be a general public consensus in the United States. As far as Turkey was concerned, Truman Doctrine did not have the effect of an alliance which the Turks felt was necessary for two basic reasons: First, the deterrence quality of the Turkish-U.S. military cooperation would be enhanced, and secondly, the volatility of the U.S. public opinion on matters con­cerning Turkey might once again play a trick and Turkey might have been abondoned. Therefore, Turkey looked on to NATO as an ins­trument that would secure alliance with the United Satetes. Di­sappointment was great when Turkey was left outside NATO when it was formed. The United States undertook only to “accord friendly and careful consideration to the security problem of the Turkish Republic.” European partners of NATO were also against the exten­sion of the Pact to include Turkey. The objections that are being ad­vanced today in some European countries against the inclusion of Turkey in the European Community were put forward between 1949 and 1951 against Turkey’s admission to NATO. These objections ranged from strategy to religion. However, Turkish participation In the Korean War and the skillful diplomacy that was followed culminated in the membership of both Turkey and Greece within NATO. Turkey looked towards NATO membership as establishing a defini­tely Western identity long cherished by Atatürk, considered U.S. al­liance as the greatest and best support for Turkey’s economic and security problems and in fact gave predominance to Allied interests which were considered as Turkish interests as well.

The Americans were given almost a free hand, with bi-lateral executive agreements, in making whatever defense and security arrengements they deemed necessary, including permission to build military bases and allow U-2 flights and station nuclear warheads. The Turkish mlitary forces were standardized on American patterns and the entirety of it were placed at the disposal of NATO. During that period Turkey and the United States cooperated for the conc­lusion of the Baghdad Pact, which became after Iraqi revolution, CENTO. Turkey tried, with the Balkan Pact to provide some security to Marshall Tito. It is admitted that while Turkey provided full sup­port to and laid emphasis on its relations with the United States, it ignored the sentiments and feelings of its neighbours, especially Arabs, and its action to organise a regional defense system under the Baghdad Pact became counter-productive with the extension of Soviet influence to the Arab World by-passing Turkey.

In the economic field, as from 1950, Turkey adopted the principles of liberal economy in the hope that integration with Western economies and the assistance to be provided by Turkey’s allies would enable her to achieve rapid economic development and inc­rease the welfare of the Turkish people who had long suffered eco­nomic deprivation.

While Turkey had obtained the military support and cooperation from the United States both in the form of Treaty guarantees and in actual fact, there was a difference of understanding and concept regarding the sense of alliance between Turks and Americans. As Ambassador Parker T. Hart points out “arkadaş”, the Turkish word for friend and ally, literally means “the one who walks behind you” i.e. to protect your back. «For twenty five years the attachment of the Turkist people to the United States was that of the “arkadaş”, affectionate, grateful and ready for sacrifices. Yet, the United States looked on the alliance with Turkey not in this sense but in the sense of cooperation with a basically alien country for limited purposes. This conceptual difference as well as inability of the Turks to meas­ure politics in terms of economy, created a number of difficulties. The United States was not prepared to underwrite the financial cost of a rapid development of Turkish economy. It was ready to provide whatever economic assistance it had to in order to keep Turkey away from economic collapse. In 1950’s Turkey’s attempts to bring American private capital in substantial quantities failed, and Turkey was led from one foreign exchange bottleneck to another. For vari­ous factors, the United States, instead of providing more assistance on a regular basis, pressured Turkey to reduce the rate of its eco­nomic development and change its priorities from more consumption to more exports and tourism. This basic attitude still continues to be a source of friction in the present decade.



The third date which is from the Turkish viewpoint a milestone and signify a change in the character of the Turkish-U.S. relations is June 4, 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson wrote to Pri­me Minister İnönü “…Furthermore, a military intervention in Cyprus by Turkey could lead to a direct involvement by the Soviet Union. I hope you will understand that your NATO Allies have not had the chance to consider whether they have an obligation to protect Turkey against the Soviet Union if Turkey takes a step which results in Soviet inter­vention without the full consent and understanding of its NATO allies.”

Only seven years ago when Soviet Union was extensively arming Syria, Turkey had taken certain defensive military measures along her frontiers. These measures had infuriated the Russians and in an interview on October 9, 1957 Mr. Kruschev had said that if a war broke out, Turkish resistance would not last even for one day. U.S. State Department has issued a statement the next day in which the U.S. Government had pledged itself that “if aggression took place against Turkey, U.S. would fulfill its obligations within NATO and aid Turkey with all its power.” Much had changed in the U.S. attitude.

Until the end of 1963 Turkey’s leaders had not only maintained their fullfledged and almost blind support of Western Alliance but at the same time had rendered service to U.S. interests in the region even though some of these interests had clashed with Turkey’s regional interests. Johnson’s letter, obviously written in haste, reflected a shift in the U.S. priorities and in assessment of threat resulting from Khruschev’s policy of “peaceful co-existence”, brought certain perplexities to Turkish minds on the very nature of its ties with the West and even on its own identitiy card. Questions began to be asked loudly in the Turkish public opinion whether Turkey had been placing too much reliance on Western and U.S. alliance, There is no doubt that President Johnson’s letter had initiated a chain of course corrections in the conduct of Turkish foreign policy, as well as certain new currents in Turkish domestic policies.

There are arguments that Johnson’s letter might have been given more emphasis than it really deserves. For some people, it is quite clear that on the question of Cyprus, the United States was bent to­wards supporting the Greek case, and Presidnet Johnson had cho­sen to blackmail Turkey to accept a de facto situation. On the other hand, the supporters of his action would claim that a Turkish-Greek conflict would in effect destroy the validity of the Atlantic Alliance in the region. Both arguments have certain justification. There is no doubt that there is a basic difference in the United States attitude towards Greece and Turkey. The existence and influence of the Greek community in the United States and intermingled economic interests, not to mention historical attitudes towards Greece, establish a special bond of relationship between Americans and the Greeks. This added dimension had been neglected by the Turkish public opinion since many years. Turkey and Greece were included together in the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO and even were made associate members of the European Economic Community and they were treated equally. As regards Cyprus, Turks had expected equal treatment, too. Until 1964 U.S. attitudes had been equitable. Turks were realizing that Western attachment to Greece was so dear that they might even put the position of Turkey into jeopardy.

Later on, I will take this subject once again within the frame­work of principles guiding the relations of Turkey and the United States.

The realization that both the United States and West European powers would not take concrete steps in resolving the Cyprus ques­tion in an equitable way, brought a shift in the conduct of Turkish foreign policy. By perceptible degrees Turkey abondoned its mono­lithic pro-U.S. and Western stance and entered into a phase of a multi-faceted policy. Turkey decided to respond favorably to Soviet overtures which had been continuing since Stalin’s death in 1953 for a rapprochment between the two countries. Turkey tried to improve its ties with the Third World countries, the Arab World and the Socia­list bloc. I would call the period after 1964 a phase of disengage­ment in Turkish-U.S. relations. While NATO adopted the flexible res­ponse strategy, the United States began its low profile policies. In the process of detente that actually began to encompass relations in Europe, the American debacle in Vietnam, the advent of EEC, China and Japan, the changes in weapons technology, the rise of Soviet naval power were factors that changed the international cli­mate and led to reassessment of international relations and strategic doctrines. In 1967 the renewed Cyprus crisis and the Vance mission partially satisfied Turkish objectives but these did not bring a solu­tion to the question which flared up once again in 1974. I distinctly remember talking to an American diplomat on the day President Nixon signed Moscow declarations which initiated detente process in 1972. He asked me, “Now, that U.S. and Soviet Union ended the Cold-War what will Turkey do?”

The last turning point I will mention is 1974. Not July and August 1974 when Turks landed and carried out two military operations in Cyprus, but December 18, 1974 when the United States Congress im­posed an arms embargo on Turkey effective from February 5, 1975. Once again clock had been turned back to 1927, The United States Congress under the influence of the Greek lobby had dealt a heavy blow on Turkish-U.S. relations. Atatürk’s incredulity in 1927 once again dominated Turkish minds. This time though, more effectively, because in 1927 there were no security relationships between Turkey and United States, and the two countries were not allies. In any event, the two situations had certain similarities. The Turkish reac­tion to the Congress’ action this time was more profound also for another reason. That is the pluralist nature of the Turkish society. This character had reduced the freedom of action of statesmen In Turkey in overcoming the harmful political implications of the em­bargo. Nevertheless, it was up to the statesmen of both countries to overcome the effects of the embargo motivated crisis in our re­lations. I would say they have succeeded by their sober and far-sighted actions and cooperation to eliminate substantially the crisis stage of our relationship, although it must be admitted that it will never be possible to return to the days of euphoria that prevailed during the fifties and early sixties.

By referring to four dates which marked substantial changes in the Turkish-U.S. relations I tried also to give a rough idea of the history of these relations during the past fifty years. To put it briefly, these relations turned from friendly relations between two distant countries, into a partnership and alliance which in turn became as George Harris termed it a “troubled alliance”. There is no dispute in both countries on the vital necessity of this alliance, but outside that, there seems to be many differences. It would be necessary therefore, to dwell  briefly on the nature of national aims and coin­cidence of interests, point out divergencies and try to explain inhe­rent and artificial influences that cause distortions in our relations.

In a Congressional document in mid-seventies the fundamental national security aims of the United States in the Mediterranean and the Middle East were explained on the basis of the following constants: General Goals: – Deter Soviet armed aggression against the United States, NATO, Europe and the Middle East-Project sufficient power to defend effectively if deterrence fails. Specific Goals: – Secure NATO’s south flank – Encourage stability in the Middle East – Support Israel – Maintain free world supply lines in the Mediterranean – Ensure continued access to Middle East oil.

From the United States point of view what is the roie of Turkey for the pursuit of U.S. national security objectives? Out of the de­bates complicated by lobby influences and public ignorance on de­tails what should be clear ideas are somewhat blurred from time to time. I would like to quote a few excerpts from a speech delivered by Vice President Mondale when he was a senator in 1974. Senator Mondale was speaking in the heat of the opium debate. Proposing a total economic and military embargo on Turkey, Senator Mondale invited the U.S. Administration to give reconsideration to the strategic situation : “Our relations with the Arab countries have markedly improved” he said. “We are no longer clinging to the Northern edge of the Eastern Mediterranean. We are homeporting naval vessels in Greece which enables us to offset the expansion in the Soviet Navy’s Mediterranean deployment. Our alliance in NATO has done nothing to curb the Soviet naval build up in the Mediterranean even though their life-line runs right through the Bosporus…. It is impor­tant to recognize that we cannot use our bases in Turkey except when Turkey is at war with the Soviet Union. Otherwise they are worthless. During the Arab-Israeli war of October 1973, the Turks permitted the Soviet Union to overfly Turkey to resupply the Arabs, but would not let us use our bases to refuel our reconnaissance aircraft. This example of favoritism to the Soviet Union provides a measure of how much our so called strategic position in Turkey Is worth. In the remote case of a conflict with the Soviet Union, our bases would be used to support the Turks. We apparently do not consider this threat imminent since a good portion of the U.S. air­craft in Turkey are based half of the time in Spain. We do not plan to mount strategic attacks on the Soviet Union from Turkey. In terms of overall strategic nuclear deterrence our bases there are obsolete. Their real utility is to deter local aggression against Turkey. The Turks are not doing us a favor by letting us have the bases. It is other way round. The alleged strategic value of Turkey should no longer control our decisions in this age of strategic missiles, intelligence satellites, detente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the Arabs. It is not worth the kind of bargain in which we give Turkey almost a quarter of a billion dollars in economic and military assis­tance.” On the question of opium, Senator Mondale and his collea­gues did not succeed but at the end of the same year they succee­ded to impose a military embargo on the occasion of Turkey’s in­tervention in Cyprus using more or less similar reasoning.

In the military terms, the value o! Turkey for the U.S. is evalua­ted in a different way by military circles. Prof. Albert Wohlstetter considers Turkey’s presence in NATO useful at least for the follo­wing reasons: Turkey’s participation in NATO sharply increases Soviet force requirements for Bulgarian or combined Bulgarian-So­viet attacks on Greece. Even if Turkish forces were less actively involved, they would tie down considerable strength in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus fronts. This could be true so long as the Soviets could not be sure of Turkish neutrality. As regards NATO’s southern flank, he says, if flanks are neutralized by political or mili-tary action, an adversary can concentrate more massively against the center. The defense of the center cannot be separated from the flank. Referring to potential role of Turkey in the case of a U.S.-Soviet conflict in the Middle East, Professor Wohlstetter points out that if the Soviets can overfly Turkey at will, they can cut out in half the time needed to deploy forces by air to an objective near the Gulf. Roughly the same time is true for deployments to Lebanon and Israel. Regarding the military and intelligence bases in Turkey, Professor Wohlstetter says: “lt should be stressed that we should not regard it as a choice so to speak, between technology and Tur­key. Many advanced and continually improved technologies can be used to great advantage from facilities in Turkey.” Military circles also point out that Turkey’s presence in the Alliance, makes Russian supply lines to Middle East insecure.

From these two arguments which I tried to quote emerge some conclusions:

While there is some controversy regarding the continued value of Turkey to strategic interests of the United States, the primary cause of U.S. involvement is nevertheless a military one closely related to  U.S. security  objectives in the region, as well as those  of NATO.

The motives that lead the United States to support Turkey within the context of the global and regional U.S. objectives may thus be summarized as follows :

  • From the military point of view Turkey’s cooperation with the United States is essential for the defense of the South flank of NATO.
  • From the point of view of S. interests in the Middle East i.e. defense of Israel and access to oil routes, unlimited Soviet passage rights over Turkey must be prevented.
  • Since intelligence equipment and possibilities in Turkey are as yet needed for observing Soviet compiance with SALT ag­reements and for other military intelligence, Turkey represents another asset which the S. military establishment wishes to preserve.
  • Finally, Turkey’s place within the Alliance makes Soviet supply routes to client states in Africa and the Middle East

These are the principal U.S. military and security interests in Tur­key and others may be added by the experts. However, foreign policy formation in the United States is not always determined solely by military exigencies and Turkish-U.S. relations are affected generally from other overriding variable factors. These could be summarized as follows:

  1. a) Perception of Threat:

The euphoria of detente of late sixties and early seventies passed away with the post-Helsinki Russian attitudes and increasing Soviet mi­litary potential. But it is obvious that the Soviets are still upprepared to risk a major military confrontation with the West, even though they ore nearing supremacy in strategic and conventional weapons Short of direct and overt menace it is not possible to secure a con­sensus in the United States on political aspects of military require­ments especially under post-Vietnam conditions. In the case of Tur­key, political opinion differs widely; so much so that the anti-Turkish lobby even challenges the military value of Turkey for the Western alliance.


  1. b) Changes of Strategy :

In the global confrontation between the Soviet power and the West, new weapons, technological developments, political conside­rations, international climate have caused continuous changes in strategies of both the United States and the Soviet Union. As a consequence, Turkey’s role in the United States strategies also keep changing. I will not get into details of these changes because of the scope of this paper; but, let me suffice by mentioning the fact that the U.S. military thinking consider some Turkish military postures which were assets in the past no longer so, to the disappointment of Turks.

  1. c) Perception of Turkey and the Turks:

Again there is no common perception of Turkey and the Turks in the United States. For the people of the United States, Turks and their aspirations, character and culture are little known. Their image is continuously blackened by traditionally anti-Turkish forces which have ways of influencing U.S. public. In the absence of an effective Turkish lobby and propaganda in the United States and since the U.S. people do not consider Turkey as a «parent» country like the rest of Western Europe, the task of defending Turkey and Turkey’s image is generally left to the executive branch of the U.S. Govern­ment in the hope that they will be able to defend Turkey because U.S. needs Turkish alliance. However, as we have seen in the past U.S. executive branch may often be over-ridden under tense domes­tic political climate or when anti-Turkish lobbies may become effec­tive also in the executive branch.

  1. Another negative factor has been the absence of a thorough appreciation of Turkey’s non-military role and capabilities in the region. The fact that Turkey has maintained a democratic form of go­vernment, respecting human rights, with an active free enterprise system, devoted to its economic and social development and full of peaceful intentions for her neighbours have received little atten­tion in the United States, despite the fact that U.S. support of un­popular regimes in the world has led from one debacle to another.
  2. S. has shown a definitive interest in the economic deve­lopment of Turkey and has provided substantial assistance which I will refer later; but neither in the economic sense nor in the military sense policies recommended, the amount and quality of aid were adequate to meet actual requirements for rapid development. I am ready to admit that on this subject a great part of the blame falls on the Turks for not having followed rational economic policies.
  3. f) There has never been, in the U.S. public and for a certain period in the U.S. Administration, too, an appreciation of the cons­traints imposed on Turkish foreign and security policy by the history and geography of the region, and Turkey’s objectives which became time to time counter-productive in Turkey’s relations with her neigh­bours or caused resentment in the Turkish public opinion. Some of these constraints are still not appreciated by the S. public and when these are translated into political action, there is an uproar in the U.S.

Having referred to the advantages and the negative aspects of Turkish-U.S. relations from U.S. standpoints, I would tike to tackle these relations from a Turkish stand point. I must caution, however, that the assessment I will present may be considered controversial by other Turkish participants.

At the end of the World War II, Turkey was faced with the follo­wing situation : Soviets were threatening Turkey with their territo­rial and political claims; the country had come out of the war im­poverished, even hungry, although it had not actually fought; the Western type institutions which Atatürk had introduced into the country had begun to take roots; Turkey’s Western allies and the United States were the victors and they were destined to lead in reshaping the post-war world.The U.S. had committed itself under the Truman Doctrine  to support Turkey against the Soviet menace.

All these factors led the Turkish leaders to search for military and economic cooperation with the United States, which was very eager and with Western Europe, even though they were not so eager. Turkey was ready to make every sacrifice in order to achieve full admission into the Western camp and pay for this purpose wha­tever political price imposed on it, in the hope that thanks to assis­tance to be received such sacrifices would be more than compen­sated with rise of standard of living of the Turkish people and se­curity obtained. Turkey was also eager to turn its economy and political regime into Western patterns despite the reticense of the Turkish bureaucracy and historically rooted public opinion objec­tions. U.S. advisors were brought in and U.S. military and eco­nomic aid  was  made  available.  Turkish  Army  was  well  equipped and trained on American standards and it was integrated in the NATO military structure. Turkey was admitted to the Council of Europe and NATO as a strong partner. Turkey was looked on as a bastion of the West.

In the field of economy, however, Turkey was constrained by several priorities she felt politically necessary to follow : with the exception of a brief period in 1930’s and in 1950’s Turkish «etatism» was the dominant economic concept which worked against and li­mited the growth of the private sector. This conceptual difference between Turkey and the United States may be considered as the primary obstacle for further development of economic inter-depen­dence between Turkey and the United States. I do not intend to try to explain the causes of Turkish «etatlsm» which has remained so strong and even grown until now. But, its use or misuse has substantially reduced the participation of foreign capital in the development of Turkish economy. In any event, the Turks have al­ways maintained their suspicion and dislike for foreign capital.

Until mid-sixties there was a complacency in Turkey regarding Turkey’s alliance with the West and military and economic coope­ration with the United States. It was taken for granted that  Western aid would continue and the standard of living would keep rising in Turkey. This complacency and euphoria was so prevalent that Tur­key ignored Russian overtures, cast a benevolent eye to what little advantages Greeks were trying to secure in the Aegean and took a distant view of the Middle East crisis to the chagrin of the Arabs.

In 1963 Turkey had signed the Ankara Treaty which, if faithfully carried by everyone, would give Turkey the right to become a member of the European Economic Community in 1995.

U.S. economic aid to Turkey began to phase out as from 1965. The Johnson letter which I mentioned earlier cast serious doubt in the Turkish minds regarding the automatlcity of U.S. support and help in case of an aggression by the Soviet Union. The honeymoon period was over but our alliance had to go on basically for two reasons: The alliance still had an appreciable deterrance value; and Turkey was so much integrated with the West and relied so much on economic support of the West that a major shift of its fo­reign policy orientation was not feasible without traumatic domestic results nor such a change was desired by the Turkish public. The «multi-faceted» foreign policy pursued after 1965, by its nature, began to bring several new constraints into Turkish-US. relations in areas where objectives of Turkey and the U.S. did not coincide. Turkey began to respond to Soviet attempts to improve relations by signing a cultural agreement and by accepting Soviet credits in order to maintain its industrial development as a supplement to phasing-out Western credits. Turkey began to give political support to the Arab cause and prevented U.S. military bases In Turkey to be used for the support of Israel in an effort to improve its relations with the Arab world. While the developments during the decade that followed 1965 did not cause a major change of course in Turkey’s objectives, the trauma of the military embargo which was imposed in 1975 and the ensuing alienation from the West in terms of political perception, led to an «identity» crisis in Turkey which is still continuing. The political spectrum in Turkey is sharply di­vided in the assessment of Turkey’s place in the Western camp. While extremist parties are vehement on taking Turkey out of the West, the center parties, at least for public image purposes do not wish to appear as ardently pro-Western. Consequently, the follo­wing differences have become vocal in specific Turktsh-U.S. security and political objectives in the region.

Security – NATO’s Southern Flank : There seems to be an identity of view in both countries as to the validity of the purpose. However, there are various conceptual and practical differences between the two countries. Several of these differences can be summarized as follows :

  1. a) The defense of Turkey : In the Turkish view point forward defense in Turkey is the most efficient way of achieving the purpose of securing NATO’s southeast flank. This can be obtained by maintaining an all round modernized and highly capable Turkish armed forces which could act as a deterrent. The allies therefore are expected to provide the necessary weapons Turkey need and assist Turkey in developing its arms industry. Otherwise, Turkey’s contribution in this regards can be only in the measure its economy permits.

The Western support for Turkey in this regard has suffered a shock with the embargo and has been sparing ever since. This may have been caused by the U.S. political constraint to keep Turkish armed strength in par with if not inferior to those of Greece; to force Turks to a settlement with Greece on their dispute in Cyprus and the Aegean, and to their belief that an attack on Turkey is not the first item on the Soviet agenda.

  1. b) Ever since automatism of NATO’s support for Turkey has become problematical as a result of Johnson letter of 1964 and the military embargo which is an action not in conformity with alliance rules but hostile in character, Turkey looks on to NATO as a factor of balance to the evergrowing Soviet power. Only such a balance can preserve conditions needed for the development of detente. Consequently, this concept constrains Turkey in supporting actions (a) that may not be fully attributable directly to NATO interests, and (b) may be considered harmful and provocative for the Turkish policy of detente and cooperation with her neighbours.
  2. S. Policy in the Middle East: The declared U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East, i.e. support Israel, encourage stability and maintain access to Middle East oil are not entirely identical with those of Turkish objectives and unqualified Turkish support for these policies cause a number of problems for Turkey. Turkish policy in the Middle East since 1965 is based on political support to the Arab cause by insisting on the evacuation of all Israeli occupied Arab lands, recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians to set up their own state. Turkey does not want to become involved in problems among the Arab states, in their domestic issues. In order to ensure her oil supplies Turkey heavily relies on cooperation with Iraq and Libya. It is known that these two countries are the oppo­nents of US. policies in the Middle East. Today, the existence of Turkey’s diplomatic relations, even at a low-key level, with Israel is subject of criticism in the Arab world. As a result, if U.S. oil interests and support of Israel in the Middle East involve confrontation with the Arab states .such a development is bound to adversely affect Turkish-U.S. harmony.
  3. S. policy to supply free world supply lines in the Mediter­ranean is in confirmity with the Turkish interests also. However, there are several differences between Turks and Americans as to the role each must play. Turks feel that they must not rely solely on the 6th Fleet but they must also have a fairly strong open sea navy to carry out their missions while politically oriented U.S. stra­tegists tend to confine the Turkish Navy to coastal defense capa­bility. Furthermore, political thinking in U.S. differ on the role Cyprus has for keeping Turkish sealanes open. U.S. also seems indifferent to Turkish interests in the Aegean with specific reference for kee­ping Turkish supply lines open.


Before taking up the future perspectives of the U.S.-Turkish relations, I must briefly refer to Turkish-U.S. economic relations.

I believe economic relations between Turkey and the U.S. must be studied under three categories : “trade”, “economic aid” and “investments”.

Earlier in my paper I gave some figures concerning Turkey’s commercial relations with the United States during the period pre­ceding the Second World War. I now wish to refer to current trade pat­terns. The seventy percent of Turkey’s imports are formed by crude-oil and refined products (30 %), machinery (17 %) chemicals (16 %) and iron and steel products (9 %). On the other hand about 70 % of its exports are formed by cotton (17 %) hazel nuts (15 %), textiles (14 %), wheat and other cereals (11 %), tobacco (7 %), raisins (5 %). This traditional pattern of Turkey’s imports and exports finds ref­lection in Turkey’s trade with the United States. The United States received $191,410,000 dollars worth of Turkish products in 1976 which represents 9.8 % of Turkey’s total exports. This share drop­ped to 6.9% in 1977. 1978 estimate is 5 %. U.S. share in Turkey’s imports was 8.5 % in 1976, 8.7 % in 1977 and about 5.5 % In 1978. Turkey’s place in overall U.S. foreign trade is well under 1 %. The U.S. has the third place in Turkey’s imports and second place in exports.

There are significant difficulties in developing trade between U.S. and Turkey. Turkey is not in a position to provide industrial products in the quality and quantity required by the U.S. markets. Since U.S. is an agricultural producer, there are very few basic Turkish agricultural products in which U.S. is interested, chief among which is tobacco. The export of most of these products is also becoming object of competition with other suppliers. As regards U.S. industrial pro­ducts, the American prices are generally 20 to 30 % higher than European and Japanese competition. Therefore, the import of ca­pital equipment from the U.S. is more subject to provision of tied loans unless superior technology is involved. During the period when AID loans were available and Ex-Im Bank loans more readily available Turkish capital equipment imports from U.S. were higher.

In the period from 1946 to 1977 the United States provided Turkey with 2.7 billion dollars of economic assistance of which 1.2 billions were grants and 1.4 billion in credits. So far Turkey has repaid 648 million dollars of the credits. Furthermore, from counterpart funds U.S. enabled Turkey to utilize 1.5 billion Turkish liras for economic development until 1963, when grant aid was stopped. On the other hand, the United States provided Turkey with about 336 mil­lion dollars worth of Ex-Im Bank loans between 1946 and 1977.

In foreign capital investment in Turkey, the United States fo­reign capital invested in Turkey from 1954 to 1976 formed only 17.08 % of the total foreign capital amounting to only about 20 mil­lion dollars under the Encouragement of Foreign Investments Law. Therefore, the amount of U.S. capital in Turkey is rather insigni­ficant and falls far behind European investments in Turkey. In the smallness of U.S. investments in Turkey one may notice several points : first is that Turkey has never been an attractive place for foreign investments despite periodic attempts of Turkish govern­ments to improve the existing conditions and regulations. Secondly, Turklsh-U.S. relations have not been stable for a long period. Thir­dly, the vulnerability of Turkey in the international area have limited private U.S. capital  interest.

One last point, I would like to mention in this context, is the possibility of cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. for military production. There are several areas where existing Turkish facilities may provide excellent opportunity for replacing some Turkish mili­tary imports from the U.S. by local production with U.S. technolo­gical assistance. The economic implications of this cooperation will be  significant.



  • Currently the image of Turkey and the Turks is no so bright in the S. public opinion. This unfavorable image is created by a host of factors among which Greek lobby currently plays the biggest part and takes full advantage of the U.S. media.
  • Similarly, the image of the S. in the Turkish public opinion has also been damaged in the past decade and a half. The principal cause for this damage is the perception of U.S. support of Greece against Turkey. The leftist and pro-Isla­mic political forces in Turkey have been markedly critical of U.S. behaviour all over the world, and embargo and other U.S. acts have also influenced the attitude of center forces in Turkey towards the U.S.
  • S. interests in Turkey is basicaly security oriented and U.S. politicians, expect her in return for minimal economic and military aid to support changing U.S. policies and doctrines

uncoditionally, disregarding Turkey’s own constraints and policy    preferences. On the other hand, Turks expect the United States to provide full economic, military and political support for Turkey because of Turkey’s geopolitical position. In other words, there seems to be over-expectotions from Turkish-U.S. cooperation on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • It is obvious that in the formation of S. policies security considerations do not prove to be the primary factor once public opinion and the U.S. Congress becomes involved. In any event, security considerations and concepts are not static and subject to the degree of threat perceived. This perception, in turn, is basically a combination of military and political assessment. Under the influence of domestic political factors, potential threat is sometimes ignored or given low priority. This argument is valid both for Turkey and the U.S. In Turkey, security considerations still predominate, but they are now debated more than ever in Turkey’s history.
  • In view of the existence in the public opinions of both countries, of hostile influences which affect public policies when issues are presented to them, and since delicate se­curity relations must be maintained a heavy burden falls on the statesmen, and diplomats of both countries to keep the relations on their track. It is necessary to recall the spirit that guided the Turkish and S. statesmen in 1927 and to accept the role of quiet diplomacy.
  • While it is necessary to increase the Turkish public relations efforts in the S. it is also incumbent on U.S. administra­tion to assist Turkey which does not have an effective lobby in the U.S. For example, in 1930’s when Armenians in the United States wanted to prepare a film out of an anti-Tur­kish book, the U.S. Government could quietly pressure the film company to drop the idea. Today a “Midnight Express” is even awarded an Oscar.

Let me now turn to the future of our relations :

The most likely trend is the continuation of Turkey’s Western orientation  which may eventually guide the Turkish destiny and give their identity to Turkey of the coming decades.

The most likely trend is the continuation of Turkey’s Western orientation. This trend may succeed only if Turkey becomes part of the European Community. In such a case it will be possible to give a healthy character to U.S.-Turkish relations on a long term basis, and increase the dimensions of our relations with the West.

What would happen if Turkey ceases to become a member of Western camp?

Ambassador Parker Hart thinks that if and when the sipirit of NATO alliance is dead «Turkey gradually will turn leftward because only a regimented philosophy and discipline will be open to it. In the age of socialist polycentrism, it could decide to become a Yu­goslavia, seeking accomodation with the USSR and security by neutrality and strengthened Third World ties. It would be counting on the U.S. to recognize this that is far preferable to complete absorption into the Communist bloc.”

Dr. Scott Thompson of Tufts University, on the other hand, thinks that by the middle of 1980s Soviet Union might be able to take over Turkey by indirect means.

The third alternative discussed is that Turkey may be dragged into Islamic revivalism aligning itself with the Arab world.

I believe these observers are influenced by the tragedy of eco­nomic conditions and increasing political violence prevailing in Turkey. Although, both factors constitute bad omens for Turkey, the clock is not irreversibly advanced.

The greatest part of the Turkish people are determined to pre­serve their democratic and secular way of life and independence. If the United States and Western powers decide to show understan­ding for the assets that Turkey constitutes for Western interests and translate their understanding into political and material action by helping to ease Turkey’s economic and security problems, they will increase their own power in this region and at the same time will make it easier for Turkey to continue to share common values with them.


Mehmet GÖNLÜBOL, et al. Olaylarla Türk Dış Politikası. Cilt  I   (1919 1973) Ankara Universitesi Siyasal  Bilgiler Fakültesi Yayınları  No. 407.

Feridun  Cemal   ERKlN. Türk – Sovyet   İlişkileri ve  Boğazlar  Meselesi, Ankara, 1968

M.W. THORNBURG, et  al. Turkey,  An  Economic  Appraisal, Greenwood Press, New York ,1968

Nuri  EREN. Turkey.  NATO and Europe :  A   Deteriorating  Relationship? The Atlantic Institute for International Affairs, Atlantic Papers No. 34

John M. COLLINS. Greece and Turkey: Some Military Implications Related to   NATO   and   Middle   East,   February   28,   1975   U.S.   Government

Printing Office

Foreign   Economic  Trends  and   Their  Implications  for   the   United  States, TURKEY, U.S.  Department of Commerce.  March  1979

Roger   R.   TRUSK.   U.S.   Response   to   Turkish   Nationalism   and   Reform. 1914 – 1939

Metin  TAMKOC, The  Warrior  Diplomats,  University  of Utah  Press, Salt Lake City, 1976

Morton KODRRACKE, ”The Greek Lobby”, The New Republic,  April 29, 1978

Geerge S. HARRIS, “Troubled Alliance” AEI and Institute on War and Peace,  Washington, D.C.

Harry  N.  HOWARD, “The Bicentennial in  American-Turkish  Relations”,  Middle East Journal, Summer  1976

NATO, TURKEY and UNITED STATES INTERESTS, American Foreign Policy Institute, Washington D.C. 1978

Jacob M, LANDAU, Johnson’s  1964 Letter to İnönü and Greek Lobbying of the While House, Jerusalem  Papers on  Peace Problems, 1979

Visits: 248

NATO’s New Strategic Concept Conference June 2010, Ankara

Keynote Speech

H.E. Tacan İldem, Director General of International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  1. E. Tacan Ildem:

Thank you Mr. President,

Excellencies distinguished guests to very important event and I would like to express my thanks and appreciations to President Seyfi Tashan of the Foreign Policy Institute in bringing about this meeting today. It is a timely one when the experts group at NATO has presented its Report on the Strategic Concept and when in all allied countries and also in partner countries the topic is being discussed publicly. I think for us to have such a debate is relevant and important. I would like to express my thanks to the Vice Rector as well. I know that Bilkent University is not only the venue for the institute but also contributing intellectually to the work undertaken. I had previously prepared some written remarks. But since this is a much closed society, dealing with such an important issue I thought that it would be better to express my thoughts on this topic dealing with certain items relevant to the strategic concept. If I make stride with the process at NATO during the Strasbourg- Kehl Summit Meeting of 2009, the Heads of State and Government decided to establish an expert group to make its contribution for the preparation of the Strategic Concept. The present Strategic Concept dates back to 1999 and I think time has come to reflect upon the developments that have taken place since then and to give a vision statement for the future. The Experts Group had already presented its report on 17th on May and when I talked with my successor our Permanent Representative to NATO yesterday he told me that they already had a way day being an informal discussion of any issue outside the headquarters with an informal environment provided by the Secretary General. So, they had very useful discussion yesterday and I am sure that they will continue to do so because what the Expert Group had done so for is to bring together all ideas, some of them perhaps out of the box ideas to be thought of in preparing the New Strategic Concept. And we would like to see the permanent Council to be fully involved in the process. On the half of, the capitals to feel sense of ownership if such an opportunity is given now. The text should be of course not too long for the public also to understand what such a vision will be for the future. But I think we should not exaggerate the brevity of the Strategic Concept by making certain analogy that it should be understood by Omaha Milkman because I don’t think that no matter how brief, concise it would be there won’t be an interest by certain segments of the society. But in any case public perceptions are extremely important and we have to eliminate the perceptions of the Cold War. The international scene has changed so has NATO and NATO is in a constant process of adaptation, adapting itself to the new security environment and of course such a Strategic Concept should set a clear guidance to the NATO military authorities. It is essential that there is no ambiguity in that sense. When we talk about NATO and its success so far we can claim that it has been a primary forum of consultation, transatlantic forum for consultation, it is a political organization with military means and Article four which enables any given ally to bring matters directly affecting its security defense and also the security interest of its allies. Article 4 is very crucial in that sense it enables allies to consult among themselves. The core function of alliance is still important and relevant. Article 5 is the bedrock of the alliance and I don’t think that the passage of time will erode its importance and meaning. When we look at the discussions that took place in 1980s and even the beginning of 1990s out of area was some sort of a sinful expression and everybody feared the consequences of embarking upon an endeavor which might be considered as out of area activity. When we look what NATO is doing right now most of its activities can be qualified as out of area. The ongoing operation, ISAF Operation in Afghanistan is a case a point and I must say that in the years to come NATO will continue to be active in such expeditionary operations. For us, the important thing is to have a balance between the core function of the alliance and the expeditionary operations. If we have maintained a success of NATO so far, it is thanks to our ability, capability, capacity to deal with the issues, contingencies related to the core functions to the alliance. Therefore, we can not neglect such areas which we qualified them to be in that category of activity. Such a balance can be struck not only rhetorically but also in practice, it should encompass planning activities and also allocation of resources.

Now, in this new strategic concept and when I say new strategic concept one should not expect a document to be prepared from the scratch. The existing Strategic Document will continue to be valid what we are going to do is to update the present text. And in updating the present strategic concept of course we need to take into account the developments. There have been changes in the international scene, that unknown phenomenon that we have to reflect in the new document, areas like energy security cyber defense or counter piracy, these were perhaps areas that we started to think about in the past but now more and more we have to focus on them. Terrorism will definitely be something that the strategic concept should reflect. If we remember that in 2001 after the terrorist attack in New York, Article 5 was evoked because of such terrorist activities, this will be one important area that we should be united to fight against it. Partnership is another important point that we need to enlarge our capacity. So far we have created a web of relationships with a number of countries and group of countries, EAPS, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council will continue to be a forum of political dialogue, discussion. In the coming months, what we may do in the light of the new strategic concept is to give some substance to do work of the EAPS with tailored arrangements, thematic cooperation models with flexible structures like 28+n. But, in any case we should not give up the existence of such a forum of discussion. Mediterranean dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative these are all very important tools for political dialogue and practical cooperation. When talking about partnerships there is one important player in the Euro-Atlantic scene, it is Russia and I think the alliance should engage with Russian Federation in a meaningful manner. I must say that NATO- Russia Council provides a very important forum for our engagement; it is not 28+ n forum it is a council compose a of 29 nations and we need to engage with Russia in all weather conditions. I recall that after Georgia crisis NATO-Russia council suspended its meetings at Ambassadorial level. At that time, I always found that to be a great mistake. We should have engaged of with Russia even more often at Ambassadorial level if it had been once a month we should have met four times a month, to deliver our messages at appropriate levels and to make them see what the sensitivities are and I think there is now a better understanding about the utility of the NRC. There are areas of mutual interest from counter terrorism to weapons of mass destruction, cooperation in Afghanistan; so we need to build on these areas so that our engagement will be mutually reinforcing and to the satisfaction of all.

What we have seen in the recent year is that in all operational theatres we can not achieve results only through military means. This brings me to the notion of comprehensive approach which will need to be reflected in the Strategic Concept. What I meant is that if we take Afghanistan as an example, we have the ISAF Operation and military operation there. But, in order to achieve success we need to bring different components; civilian military, good governance, reconstruction and development so that we see the ownership of the Afghan people and to see state structures functioning properly. And that is why we need to bring together the capabilities and capacities of different international organizations. When NATO has claimed to contribute to comprehensive approach we are sincere about that and we wish to engage with other international actors and organizations in a proper and profitable manner. We are genuine in our offer to have such cooperation with other organizations and that’s why in every operational theatre we can see NATO being engaged with the United Nations with the European Union and with all concerned organizations there. Now usually Turkey is being criticized that it is sort of an obstacle for making a progress in furthering cooperation between NATO and the European Union. I must say that such a statement will not be with the knowledge of what Turkey is trying to do and what Turkey has been contributing in operational field. First of all, Turkey since the inception of European Security and Defense Policy has been contributing to almost all operations and actions of the European Union. We are in Bosnia under the mandate of the Althea Operation and it is a EU-led Berlin plus military operation and we would soon be the first leading nation within Althea. In Kosovo Eulex mission we have 64 policemen and we wish to increase the number up to 150. And we, at the same time, wish to be properly involved in the planning decision shaping and execution phases of each an every mission and operation. If you ask me what we are satisfying with the level of involvement, my answer would not be positive unfortunately. NATO has been very open minded forward leaning towards its partners in involving them, in planning, decision shaping and execution of any operation- ISAF- KFOR. I must say that our allies who have been very vocal during the NATO discussions, were silent when it comes to the deliberations of to EU with respect to a better and proper involvement of the Non- EU allies within the CFDP of EU.

Lisbon Treaty, according to what I hear from my interlocutors in EU, will hopefully bring some possibilities in that direction. But when I read certain stipulations within the Lisbon Treaty and also the instruments provided by the union, I get more skeptical; because no matter what accumulated we have in our relationship with EU and one clear example is this implementation of the document, we see that according to Lisbon Treaty we are qualified to be a third country, a third state together with Russia, India, China or whichever country you may remember. And I think that there should be a difference between other partners of EU and Non-EU European allies. So, no matter what our membership process how it will continue and let us for the sake of assumption think that Turkey will remain out of the European Union forever, still Turkey will have the rights to be properly involved in ESDP because we are Non-EU European ally. Now, one critical question in the Strategic Concept would be the nuclear component of the alliance deterrents, as long as nuclear weapons do exist in the world and we very much support the vision of Obama, one day to have a world free of nuclear weapons. Still it will take time and until such time NATO will need to maintain its nuclear deterrence. I am sure that the debate on the finalization of Strategic Concept would require a focus on the nuclear dimension of the deterrence and I presume a balancing language will be added by incorporation of certain language with respect to arms control and disarmament. Missile defense will be another issue which will have to be with in the Strategic Concept. For nuclear weapons stationed in Europe sub strategic systems, I must say that the maintenance of Trans-Atlantic links, display of solidarity and also the principle of fair burden and risk sharing would be something we should not lose side of. The missile defense is an important issue and on that I have to highlight the principle of indivisibility of security and solidarity yet another principle in that context and we need to see all alliance territory to be fully covered with any missile defense architecture to be developed in the years ahead. Few points on Headquarters Reform because when I read the report and I think it is in front of you, the report of the Experts on Strategic Concept, there are two fundamental issues, one is military transformation and second is the reform of the headquarters and decision making process and of course one other issue is expanding our capacity in the partnership field. On Headquarters Reform all I can say is that we very much support various ideas to strengthen the ability of alliance to deliver things in a timely fashion and streamlining the Committees is one very good idea. But, we have to be very careful about it and we always have to review the process with lessons learned. As to the decision making process, consensus has always been in the heart of our work in the alliance. Sometimes, we may come across certain suggestions with the expectation that NATO can also follow the European Union by incorporating qualified majority rule to its working methodology. But, first of all, every organization has distinct future as it is not EU and second when people make such suggestions they fail to recognize the fact that even within the EU security and defense is one domain of activity that qualified majority voting rule is not applicable. So, at NATO, we may also come across suggestions that perhaps we should restrict the consensus rule only with the Council, Committees will discuss briefly what is before them and bringing it to the Council table. I do not think that it would be practical since we will be over, burdening the work of the Council and at the same time we will be losing expertise accumulated in the Committees. A few words on allocation of resources, because it is one particular area that we are facing more and more difficulty at NATO and the circumstances is not proper to increase the level of spending due to financial crisis that we are undergoing. But if the level of ambition of the alliance is determined by financial constrains then we will be losing one important and successful organization, like NATO because we will be focusing only in areas that financial capability could permit. So, the level of ambition has to be determined by the Strategic Concept but not by financial constrains. Strategic concept may eventually lead a discussion on command structure and I caution the audience that frequent change of command structure will lead to question mark as to the credibility of our system. These are some thoughts that I offer again I would like to thank you for organizing this meeting and I hope that it will produce very good exchange of views that will help us in having our ownership in the process.


Prof. Duygu Sezer: Thank you very much, first perhaps I should thank the organizers of the conference, this is a unique organization. This is a rare occasion for us from many perspectives especially because we all time are used to attend such conferences take part and we are active such conferences because they are used to be more of them during the Cold War years and in the early days of the passing away of the Cold War. But, it is quite rare that you are taking part in a conference which is exclusively dedicated to NATO issues which I believe it is very timely. Mr. Ambassador, you have given us a very informative overview, but I had not seen the report, I haven’t had a chance to look at in fact I am just seeing report today, this morning. And you touched on some critical points; I would not take up more of your time because it is very satisfactorily explained by you. There is one area which you may have talked about it but I may have missed it that is the enlargement process. I’ve read the small short paragraph on that report just now it. What do you say about this? Is this a repetition of the old because the 1991 again? This seems to be open-ended approach; it is a continuation of the open-ended approach. What do you think about it? Where do you stand? Where does Turkey stand on that question? Thank you very much.

  1. E. Tacan İldem: Thank you Professor, enlargement will continue to be an item in our agenda in the years to come, and Open Door policy will be the guiding principle for us. There is an unfinished business in the Balkans as you now, one country Macedonia was aspiring and still aspires to join NATO as a member. And in 2008 in Bucharest Summit meeting we were expected Macedonia to join NATO together with Albania and Croatia but it could not be possible. And we hope that the main issue will be resolved soon and we could welcome them without further delay. It would be a strategic mistake on the part of NATO, if we can not deal with this unfinished business properly. We were happy last April in Talen when the Ministers decided to invite Bosnia Herzegovina to Membership Action Plan. And we hope that in the fall of this year, their MAP cycle can start together with Montenegro without any delay. You are right we have to be open-minded and it is up to the nations who wish to join the alliance to strengthen its ties with NATO. We have certain procedures, there are countries that are in the partnerships for peace program, and there are countries which have cycles. Before membership is actual to prepare them we have the Membership Action Plan process. So, it is important that those countries who will join NATO can contribute to the security and defense of the alliance. So, it is not a charity business, but rather contribution of individual nations to the strength of NATO. Of course NATO provides an added capacity and security for them. But Open Door policy is valid and it will continue and I am sure that it will be reflected in the Strategic Concept.

The Ambassador of Netherlands: Thank you, I have two questions one is very short. The short will be what is your primary assessment of the Report? Second one is, you talked about Russia, I came from Moscow last year and what you mean is that it is very important to one way is trying to engage with Russia. Do you think there is special work of the achievement, because you are much nearer with Russia not only geographically but also with other issues as well?

  1. E. Tacan Ildem: Thank you Ambassador, yes indeed I had the privilege to work with both Secretary Generals and you are right to be proud to produce Secretary Generals from both countries. It is an important position guiding the work of the alliance, Shaffer and Rasmussen. It will be a guiding force in the period ahead of us and so far what he has done is a testament of this ability to guide us in that direction. We had read the Report and I must say that it is a very useful contribution to the deliberations that we are going to have. As we know, when the Strategic Concept work was embarked upon, the first was reflection period. We had seminars organized in different allied countries and even in one partner country as I remember one seminar I went in Helsinki so it shows again the forward leaning attitude of alliance towards the partners. We welcome the Report, it contains very useful ideas and we are happy to see the contributions of Ambassador Ümit Pamir who was among the experts and another qualification we give to individual in the group is Wiseman he contributed enormously to the work of group, of course without national affiliation. We endorse all these ideas but of course it is a huge document and I don’t think that it is concise with the aim of clarity and to be concise for the publics to read it. But nevertheless, the ideas that they have shared with us through this report will need to be taken into account discussed properly at all levels. And firstly, at the Permanent Council by our Ambassador, later on 14th of October the Secretary General intends to bring together Foreign and Defense ministers prior to the Lisbon Summit on 19th of November where our Heads of State and Government will endorse the Strategic Concept. So it is a welcome paper and we very much appreciate the work of the Experts Group. For Russia and I know how knowledgeable and experienced you are given your ten year as an Ambassador in Moscow. It is no doubt very important country and an important player in Euro-Atlantic security environment and we can not just ignore Russia but rather we need to engage them in a wise strategic manner. Turkey perhaps has certain experience to share with its allies; we respect and understand the sentiment of certain allied nations. It is not easy to deal with recent past when it comes to relations with Russia. So, we respect those sentiments but not necessarily agree with the course of action that we should take and Turkey together with some other allies try to have a vision for the engagement of Russia with a proper manner because at the end of the day we can not go for lowest common denominator, we should go beyond that and I am quite happy to see that almost all allies now are in full agreement in engaging with Russia. So there is no division among us and like any other allied country Turkey is also trying to influence the discussion with the experience that it had accumulated through its bilateral relations with Russia. I believe that we need to coordinate our views, but NATO-Russia Council should also reflect the structure being a forum of 29 nations not 28+1. Then the discussions will not be reflected of that spirit it, will be subjective to criticisms by our Russian partner so we have to avoid that. But on critical issues like the CFE I think we should have a uniform, united alliance position. It is fundamental that we not only coordinate but reach a decision, a position corresponding to all of our requirements.

Mustafa Kibaroglu: Mr. Ambassador, it is always a pleasure to listen to your remarks, just like today you set the stage in a very eloquent way. Especially with respect some research I am doing, it is about US nuclear weapons in Europe, as you also mentioned there is a paragraph in the document, I just want to refresh the minds of participants here, as long as the nuclear weapons exist, we should continue to maintain secure and reliable nuclear forces with widely shared responsibility for the deployment and operational support. Any change in this policy including in the geographical distribution of NATO nuclear deployments in Europe should be made as with other major decisions by the allies as a whole. But we all know that there is this letter dated February 2008 earlier this year Foreign Minister of Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherland and Norway stated that they will come the initiative taken by President Obama to strive force substantial production of strategic arms and to move towards producing the role of the nuclear weapon and to seek peace and security in the world without nuclear weapons. We need to emphasize that there should be discussions towards the allies can do more closer to this political objective ensured three countries that are known to have US weapons in their territory, Belgium, The Netherland, and Germany want to sent this weapons back. So, what is NATO’s reaction to this terror, if these countries somehow or NATO as a whole takes a decision or approve their desire to sent them back? What is Turkey’s reaction to this, could you please explain?

  1. E. Tacan Ildem: Thank you very much, Professor Kibaroglu is always very much focused on this particular issue and I very much appreciate his work, he will definitely contribute this meeting. If I may respond to your question, it is true that these five nations express their expectations to see reductions in the number of nuclear weapons; they are for arms control and disarmament which we will fully support. We share as I mentioned earlier, the vision of President Obama to have a world free of nuclear weapons. And as the Report says until such time we need to preserve nuclear deterrence with safe and secure system. I have to remind that in Talen during the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, NATO for the first time has discussed this issue in deep. And one clear message came out of that meeting and it is also reflected in this Report that not a single nation will be implement unilaterally; this is a very powerful statement in itself. So, there may be a genuine interest and desire to see some those sub strategic systems withdrawal to individual nations like Belgium, The Netherland and Germany. In fact, German coalition government had incorporated in the coalition protocol clear stipulations with respect to the withdrawal of these systems. Nevertheless, after Talen we see that there is a unity among allies and we have to remember that Nuclear Posture Review of the US is another element in this point that with all decisions to be made together. There is a clear reference to the fact that even the US will not make decisions unilaterally. I can not of course speak on the behalf of the Netherlands, since we have there, the ambassador of that country. Nevertheless, I can only give as an idea how this statement is reflective in the policies and rhetoric of individual states. For instance, during the NPT review conference that I attended in New York, there was a paragraph with respect to the elimination of the sub strategic systems in Europe and that reference was deleted with the very forceful intervention of the Dutch delegation. So, it shows that even if there is a desire as a long term objective to see this system eliminated from our inventories until such time all allies are united to stick to the nuclear deterrence that it provides. A speculative question that you put Turkey’s reaction would be. The only thing I can refer to that is my earlier statement that among the guiding principles there is one which fair risk and burden sharing, so if three allies say no then I will put the question to you whether it will be fair risk a burden sharing to keep those systems in a nation’s soil.

Question: Thank you, I have just one remark and 2 questions. The remark is that I am really impressed by the level of bola between parties position with varied aspect Strategic Concept will touch upon in Italy’s position, I will be talking about further but it is really impressive. My two questions regard initial briefly mentioned with CFE treaty that NATO members should follow common position. I would like to know of Turkey would be ready to support ratification of the amended treaty regardless of the fact that Russian troops in Chechnya. Second question regards that NATO’s role outside the Euro-Atlantic in particular in the Middle East I would just wonder whether Turkey would be ready in NATO for a role in the Middle East for instance as a peace-keeping capacity in the Middle East conflict?

Question: My question is about Russia- NATO relationship. When I looked at the Eeport, there is one thing that I personally share and I think the Europeans people share of the sentiments, I would be critical of is this over emphasis on finding a balance between Article 4 and 5 without being clear on how to implement them. I am sure everybody agrees that assurance of the allies in area in dynamic engagement outside is a good thing but how Europe actually go around doing it, I don’t think even NATO as I talked to them including Jamie have an idea perhaps pushing some more troops in area. But we are talking about fundamental disagreement as to what constitutes an Article 5 operation. In terms to engage Russia, Report actually says the Medvedev Treaty on European security should not be as a basis of engagement because it undermines NATO. But moderate Russian views actually tell us the opposite view; the Treaty could be a basis of dialogue and engagement although it does not provide all the answers. It could be a basis for seriously engaging with Russia beyond NATO-Russia council structure which at the moment only deals with rather massive, boring technical issues; it does not really look at the wider strategic issues. On that basis, I think there is a European and American disagreement and I would really like to know where Turkey stands on that, how do you view the Treaty as a basis of engagement that Medvedev has proposed.

Reşat Arım: You mentioned the adaptation of NATO to the international developments. We know that the international developments affect the international system. We see that international system is still evolving. So, do you think that we can say the same thing for NATO, which it is evolving according to the situation in the international system?

  1. E. Taycan Ildem: Thank you very much, these are very important questions and the time constraints make my job rather difficult more than a challenging one. First on CFE, we have to remember that we have decided not to go to our parliaments for the ratification of CFE because we were waiting Istanbul Commitments to be fulfilled and now we have yet another difficulty with developments in Georgia, the political implication that it brought about. We accepted the Parallel Action Plan developed within the alliance at this crucial juncture we would like to see allies to agree on a unified alliance position in how to proceed from now on in engaging Russia, because Russians as you know more than 12 half years ago they have suspended implementing the CFE Treaty and now we should not feel the necessity to rush in a hasty decision just for the sake of engaging Russia, if we are not united on a position in how to deal with CFE. We very much appreciate the work undertaken by Ambassador Newland the new Special Representative for CFE but we have to be realistic and we have to see that CFE Treaty is a legally binding document and it would be difficult for us to bring together legally binding and political commitments in a meaningful manner to accommodate the Russian side. So, going for the ratification of the adapted CFE will not be something realistic given the fact that the United States insists that it is not possible to see this adapted CFE ratified by the Congress given the situation in Georgia. So, putting this aside we have to reflect upon new ways how to proceed but we should not lose the instruments that we had created, the CFE is something vital to maintain as an instrument. And I don’t think that we can reach something better than CFE and legally binding that nature of it is quite important not to lose. Now regarding your question on a possible role of NATO to have a peace keeping mission in the Middle East, first of course there has to be a peace there, so that we have a peace keeping role. But, in reaching that point we need to intensify our political dialogue and practical cooperation with Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative countries in such a way not only in the political and practical cooperation terms but also in public diplomacy dimension. There are still misperceptions as to what NATO stands for and we have to eliminate certain concerns or certain cliché ideas about NATO on the minds of those countries in the region. And I can remember one interesting development when I was sitting on the Council at NATO we had Ambassador Amro Musa the Secretary General of Arab League. He came to meet with the Council and his remarks were quite an eye opener, he told us that he would never have thought of coming to NATO to speak with NATO ambassadors on the Council. The reason he came was that he saw that NATO had changed it did not represent what NATO used to be during the Cold War years. So, if the Secretary General of Arab League could engage with NATO in such a fashion; it can give us hope that with the proper public diplomacy efforts we can eliminate an important segment of concerns and NATO can well participate in any peace keeping effort. And we may at the same time recall that the NATO training mission in Iraq is one clear example that in such geographies NATO can deliver, and it is quite possible that when we finally see Middle East peace established NATO can be one organization to contribute.

Now, with respect to the portions of the Report pertaining to Article 4 and Article 5 again as I said earlier Article 4 provides allied countries to have a consultation on issues related to their security and defense. It is a very important mechanism that we can engage in a dialogue among ourselves. For Article 5, I don’t think that we should prescribe which situations warrant the evoking of Article 5. There has always been flexibility we should not introduce a rigid system of what is applicable, what is not applicable, this requires the discussion among allies and Article 4 will provide that. But, at the end of the day take for instance 2001 and for the first time in its history NATO evoked Article 5 because of the attacks in New York. So, if NATO embarks upon an exercise from now on what will fall into the category of the Article 5 then we will be losing the beauty of its flexibility and I rather find it difficult for us to go through that part. With respect to Medvedev proposals, it is not only the Medvedev proposals which to me were containing very important ideas but the formulation of what we called Medvedev proposals in the form of two agreement treaties: one for European security, the other for NATO-Russia Council, to me is not as sophisticated as the ideas formulated under the title of Medvedev proposals and we may even qualify them to be less than what it was and not too sophisticated in nature those instruments. And I have to emphasis that Russia is insisting on legally binding commitments when it comes to its own concerns but when it comes to concerns of some allied nations then it can easily go for political statements or commitments. And I think we need to be very careful about that careful process is progressing, NATO-Russia Council will of course discuss the agreement that Russia has proposed. But we don’t have Medvedev proposals as such imply because what we have seen in the wordings of these two treaties are not reflected of what Medvedev proposals intended to have initially.

For your question Ambassador, I can in all fairness say that NATO is transforming itself constantly. In early 1990s after the dismemberment of the Soviet Union fall of the communism and Warsaw Pact it was the first major transformation. Transformation is a key word guiding the work of the alliance and it will continue, we can not sustain the success of NATO without transformation and even for the fact that there is allied comment transformation in Norfolk is a clear indication that we are focusing in a very pragmatic manner and the ACT in Norfolk is instrumental to generate ideas like a think tank if I may qualify that way giving us perspectives for the future and it is extremely useful to see a number of possible contingencies and how the alliance can react to such evolving situations. So our motive is transformation and we will continue to do that and this Report in fact highlights the importance of transformation in that sense.

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Seyfi Taşhan Awarded

Seyfi Taşhan, President of the Foreign Policy Institute, has been honored by the International Relations Council for his contributions to the think tank culture and international relations studies in Turkey at a ceremony held on April 28, 2016 on the sidelines of the 7th International Relations Studies and Education Congress held in Çeşme, İzmir. The International Relations Council is composed of academic staff of international relations departments of six universities.

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