Another Turning Point in the EU and Turkey Relations?

On 10-11 December, the leaders of the EU countries come together in Brussels last time in
this chaotical year. In addition to the fight against COVID 19 pandemic and EU-UK relations,
the tension between Turkey and two EU member states, Greece and Cyprus, in the Eastern
The Mediterranean will be one of the main discussion topics.
In the previous Council meeting of the EU in October, the EU leaders declared their full
solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, while the sanction calls against Turkey did not find
unanimous support within the Council. At the same time, the EU also tried to keep the
dialogue with Turkey by launching a positive political EU-Turkey agenda, which includes an
international conference for the Eastern Mediterranean, updating the Customs Union
an agreement, the revival of visa liberalization negotiations, and the renewal of the migration
Nevertheless, European sanctions against Turkey seem right now more likely than ever.
Above all, Greece and Cyprus insist on though EU sanctions as Turkey’s natural gas
explorations still continues in the disputed Eastern Mediterranean waters. Foreign Minister
of Greece, Nikos Dendias, described Turkey’s actions in the region as "revisionist" and
"destabilizing" and he is also sure that this time " it will not be easy for Turkey to fool the
EU; Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron pushes for sanctions on Turkey. The
dispute between France and Turkey over Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean and the
Nagorno-Karabakh War has seriously deteriorated the mutual relations in the past couple of
months. According to French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Turkey’s; soothing
declarations; are not good enough to overcome these disagreements. Finally, the European
Parliament has recently called for the Council to impose tough sanctions on Turkey as well.
In the meantime, Turkey showed some positive steps on the eve of the EU council meeting.
First, President Erdoğan declared his intentions to work with the EU by stating that; We see
ourselves as an inseparable part of Europe and we want to build our future with Europe; these words have arguably been the clearest message to the EU in recent years. Second,
ahead of the EU summit, Turkey withdrew its seismic research vessel, Oruç Reis. Third, Presidential Spokesman and Chief Advisor to President, İbrahim Kalın, visited Brussels in the last days of November. During his meeting with high-level EU officials, he expressed once again that working with the EU is a strategic priority for Ankara and added Turkey still aims
to protect peace and stability in the region.

Like the previous meeting, the most critical actor in the process will be Germany. In October,
Germany, which holds the rotating Council presidency, opposed sanctions and initiated the
positive agenda strategy. However, more recently, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that
the relations between the EU and Turkey did not reach the point that they wanted. Also, she
described Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean as; aggressive; and; provocative; In the meantime, she mentioned that Turkey deserved great respect for hosting significant numbers of Syrian refugees.
In this situation, the most crucial question remains still the same: Will the EU impose
sanctions on Turkey? Actually, the answer is still not clear. On the one hand, France, Greece, and Cyprus will probably find this time more support from the other EU members, as there is no sign of progress about the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and it can easily get out of control. On the other hand, as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep
Borrell stated that there are some willing and at the same time still more reluctant EU
countries about sanctions on Turkey. The diplomatic sources said especially Hungary is
Repeatedly rejecting possible sanctions by thinking of Turkey’s role in preventing illegal refugee
passages to the EU. Moreover, Spain and Italy seem not so contended about France’s increasing activities in the Mediterranean.
Then what we should wait for this critical meeting?
It seems that German decision-makers have still not decided on their next steps. That means
it is not very likely to see tough sanctions on Turkey as Greece, Cyprus, and France wanted.
Instead, we see probably a; last strong warning" from the EU to Turkey or a limited package
of sanctions. Without a doubt, both sides will try to strengthen their positions until the last
minute, and Chancellor Merkel will play once again a decisive role.


Dr.Başar Şirin

Visits: 124

Balkans-NATO-Turkey Relations in 1990s

In the 1910s, three important wars which were the First and Second Balkan Wars and First
World War were lived. From these wars, everyone has a different importance. After Balkan
Wars, independence and the map of states were determined, and after the First World War
Kingdom of Yugoslavia was established. Then, after the Second World War, it began to call
the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, and in 1963 its name was changed with the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There were six countries which were Serbia, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro; and two autonomous
regions which were Kosovo and Vojvodina. This regulation had continued to until Tito’s
death in 1980. In this writing, we will look at the historical structure of the Balkans in the
After Tito’s death, the regulation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia broke
down and Serbia had got more power than other ones. Because of that situation occurring, the
distribution of the federal structure of Yugoslavia was lived. The concrete reason can be seen
as Serbia’s taking president mission from Croatian Stipe Mesiç with the rotation method in
1991. After that, Croatia and Slovenia in 1991, Macedonia (in today Northern Macedonia),
and Bosnia Herzegovina in 1992 got their independence. Although any problem has not
occurred for the independence of Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina’s one resulted in war. Also, a meeting was made in Rome to determine of
NATO’s operations area in 1991. According to that meeting, out of area operations can be
made by NATO. However, NATO had not made operations in the Bosnian War until 1994.
After joining the operation, the Serbia army surrendered, and the Dayton Agreement was
signed. Because of Dayton Agreement’s content which was about related to while Kosovo
waits for its independence from autonomy, Serbia has decided to include Kosovo in its
borders, Kosovo Crisis occurred. Kosovo Liberation Army began to attack to Serbian Army,
and United Nations and NATO came for helping to Kosovo. Also, we can say that NATO has
got more action than the Bosnian War years for that crisis. At the end of 1999, Serbia failed,
and the United Nations managed Kosovo by the international community until 2008( Kosovo
gained its independence in 2008).
When we look from Turkey’s perspective to these years, we see that Turkey used the
United Nations, NATO, Islamic Conference, and the Organization for Security and
Co‐operation in Europe for talking on the Balkans. Also, Turkey wanted to get an active role

in the Balkans, but at the beginning of the Bosnian War Turkey was not accepted by other
ones. After Serbia’s attacking became more dangerous and United Nation’s power is not
enough, Turkey got acceptance and sent troops under UNPROFOR. Moreover, although
Turkey had good relations politically and economically with Serbia, after the Bosnian War
and Kosovo Crisis Turkey revised its relations with Serbia. Also, for Kosovo Crisis Turkey
got a military mission under NATO. Turkey got actions with the not only military but also
diplomatically with the United Nations and NATO.
To sum up, with the increasing influence of communism after the Second World War, there
have been certain changes in Yugoslavia. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
which was said to consist of 6 social states and 2 autonomous regions until Tito’s death, lost
its balance in the 1980s and Serbia gained weight in the federal structure. When it comes to
the 1990s, we see uprisings in the name of independence. Croatia and Slovenia in 1991,
Macedonia (North Macedonia), and Bosnia Herzegovina declared independence in 1992.
Although Serbia did not get destructive actions against Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia,
Serbia declares war against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also, during these years when the
NATO alliance decided to participate in out of area operations, it joined the Bosnian War late.
When it was seen that the force of the United Nations was inadequate against Serbia, NATO
participated and Serbia withdrew as a result of the bombardments. As a result of this war, the
Dayton Agreement was signed and the Kosovo Crisis broke out after the agreement. Turkey is
no longer indifferent to the developments in the Balkans. Turks, Bosnians, and Albanians
living in these lands, who have ties depending on the history, supported financially and
morally and sent troops to NATO by Turkey.


This article is written by Buse Bakkaloğlu

Visits: 126

How NATO Can Avoid a Strategic Decoupling in the Eastern Mediterranean

Since an extraordinary naval standoff occurred between French and Turkish warships in the Eastern Mediterranean in early June, Paris and Ankara have been trading increasingly sharp verbal blows over their respective actions in implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya. While this may appear to be just another moment of friction between NATO allies, particularly with Turkey, it is not. This incident represents a more deep-seated strategic dilemma for NATO as well as an increasingly stark divide between the European Union and Turkey.

This strategic dilemma is rooted in Turkey’s new regional foreign and security policy, based in part on its “Blue Homeland” doctrine. The implementation of this doctrine has caused a series of serious incidents that have been observed by Turkey’s allies but fleetingly, if rarely, addressed. Encountering little resistance, Turkey believes its actions to be largely accepted (as some are, such as limiting Russian influence). But the totality of Turkey’s policies and actions have now reached a point of dangerous escalation, which could substantially challenge the coherence of NATO’s collective defense posture in the Mediterranean and weaken its political cohesion. Turkey’s actions threaten to hinder vital NATO-EU cooperation in the region as well.

To avoid this, allies should approach the growing instability in the Mediterranean through an integrative policy that seeks to deescalate tensions and define, with Ankara, common interests by identifying some agreed principles to guide regional behavior. If Turkey is unwilling to join such an initiative, greater transatlantic tensions lie ahead.

Turkey’s Blue Homeland Ambitions
Turkey’s Blue Homeland Doctrine has its origins in a plan drawn up by Turkish admiral Cem Gurdeniz in 2006. It sets out an ambitious goal to underline and expand, through assertive diplomacy and military means, Turkey’s influence in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas while enabling access to energy and other economic resources. President Erdogan adopted it in 2015 as an integral part of a national strategy of “forward defense” in the context of his sustained drive to assert Turkish independence in all aspects of foreign policy to include influence in its surrounding regions.

Manifestations of the doctrine were on full display during the February 2019 Mavi Vatan (Blue Homeland) exercise, which was the largest combat exercise since the establishment of the Turkish Navy and was conducted simultaneously in the Aegean, Black, and Eastern Mediterranean Seas. The Turkish government-controlled media described the exercise as a “war rehearsal.” Another example has been Turkey’s assertive energy claims around the disputed Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In February 2018, Turkey sent naval vessels to stop an Italian drilling vessel on its way to drill for gas off Cyprus’ coast. Then in the spring of 2019, Ankara sent ships into Cypriot waters, escorted by the Turkish navy, to conduct its own drilling activities. European Union member states unanimously denounced those “illegal actions,” expressed their support for Cyprus by restricting EU pre-accession aid to Turkey, and suspended negotiations of an air transport agreement. Israel also encountered Turkey’s naval activism when its oceanographic ship, Bat Galim, operating in Cypriot waters in cooperation with Nicosia, was forced out by Turkish warships. Regional tensions reached a new high in November 2019 when Turkey signed an agreement with Libya’s Government of National Accord. The agreement defines a maritime border between the two countries in the Mediterranean Sea and permits Turkey to defend Libya’s maritime interests (which extend to six nautical miles from Crete) as well as allowing for joint extraction of energy resources in the Mediterranean.

To date, Turkey has met little resistance from either the European Union, NATO, or the United States in response to its actions, with the exception of harsh words and limited sanctions. Some EU parliamentarians have denounced Ankara’s “gunboat diplomacy,” and EU high representative Borrell released a declaration stating that EU countries are “growing increasingly concerned about the recent escalations from Turkey.” EU foreign affairs ministers convened on July 13, asking Ankara to provide “clarifications” on its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Libya, and Syria and asking High Representative Borrell to provide options to reinforce the sanctions imposed on Turkey for its gas and oil drilling activities in Cyprus’ EEZ. Secretary of State Pompeo has called Turkey’s illegal drilling in Cypriot waters “unacceptable,” yet this is unlikely to be followed by concrete action given that the Trump administration has not yet imposed legally mandated sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

This lack of a holistic and united transatlantic response to Turkey’s naval actions has emboldened Ankara to take further actions, particularly at a time when Erdogan seeks to project independent power abroad and heighten nationalistic sentiment at home to distract the Turkish population from great economic difficulties. The restoration of Hagia Sophia as a mosque is a powerful example of this policy in action coupled with its military interventions in Libya and Syria. Absent international resolution of the Cypriot and Libyan disputes (which are on the cusp of bringing in other powers, such as Egypt and Israel), President Erdogan has (rightly) concluded that Turkey has more to gain by its unilateral use of hard power and reaching its own diplomatic agreements that suits its needs rather than through broader diplomatic engagement and dialogue.

Escalating Tensions with Allies
As Turkey secures its regional interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, it sets itself on a collision course with official EU and NATO operations, which undermines broader regional and international stability. The first major collision occurred in April 2020 when the European Union launched Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI to implement the UN Security Council arms embargo on Libya. Despite a lack of policy unity over Libya, EU countries agreed on a common objective: the importance of preventing further military escalation by taking joint action to enforce the UN embargo. Turkey denounced IRINI as taking one-sided approach to the embargo that focuses only on constraining the Government of National Accord, which Turkey supports. The U.S. State Department seems to agree. Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker sided with the Turkish interpretation, questioning whether the EU mission was “serious,” because it only focused on interdicting Turkish materiel and not preventing Russian military equipment from reaching Libya.

On June 10 2020, Operation IRINI unsuccessfully tried to investigate a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship, escorted by Turkish warships and headed toward Libya. The Turkish ships prevented the Greek navy from inspecting the vessel, claiming the cargo was “medical equipment.” Tensions further escalated that same day when the French Navy ship Le Courbet, operating in the Eastern Mediterranean in the framework of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian, a maritime security operation launched by NATO in 2016 to support maritime situation awareness, counterterrorism, and security capacity building, tried to inspect the same civilian cargo ship. But the Turkish escort intervened again, leading this time to a more aggressive and dangerous incident. According to the French government, Turkish warships turned their fire-control radars on the French warship (the preliminary phase before launching a weapon on a target) and pointed guns at the warship to dissuade any attempts at inspecting the cargo. Ankara rejected these claims, calling them “groundless,” and instead accused the French ship of conducting a “high-speed and dangerous maneuver.” Speaking to reporters in Paris this week, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the United States was “very sympathetic with France” in its dispute with Turkey, and “NATO allies shouldn’t be turning fire control radars on one another.” At France’s request, NATO has launched a formal investigation into the incident, but the results of the investigation have not been released publicly.

The Risk of a Mediterranean Strategic Decoupling
Since the incident, tensions between Turkey and France have escalated as both presidents have used very strong rhetoric against the other. Although it might be tempting to hope that tensions will fade, they are likely to escalate again and have major implications for the European Union, NATO, and the rule of law.

First, tensions have now reached a level where they risk significantly impacting NATO. Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 system against the wishes of the United States and its NATO allies, its unilateral military interventions into Syria against Kurdish forces, its frequent military interventions into northern Iraq (its most recent air and ground operation was in mid-June), its violations of Iran (and likely Venezuela) sanctions, its continued probing of Greek airspace, and its recent veto over important NATO plans for the defense of NATO’s eastern flank (which was suddenly lifted days after the naval incident) leads one to conclude that Turkey is increasingly pursuing its national interests over NATO’s collective defense interests. The decision by the United States and other F-35 program partners to remove Turkey from the program (although it continues to contribute to the supply chain) will diminish NATO defenses in general as well as its readiness, interoperability, and effectiveness of NATO’s air defense capabilities. Likewise, the announcement of France’s withdrawal of its forces from NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian following the naval incident with Turkey reduces much-needed naval capabilities in the Eastern Mediterranean for both the European Union and NATO to jointly enforce the UN arms embargo in Libya.

NATO has always struggled to articulate and deploy forces to protect and defend its southern flank and has devoted too little strategic attention to the Mediterranean over the last few years while powers such as Russia have consistently reinforced their military presence. With a dramatic increase in conflict as well as migration challenges, NATO and the European Union need to be an effective and unified presence in the Mediterranean despite disagreements with Turkey. The European Union relies on NATO intelligence and other support to execute many of its missions, so a diminished NATO also diminishes the European Union.

Absent more focus on the Mediterranean, Ankara and Southern European NATO members may conclude that the alliance has become, de facto, exclusively focused on its eastern flank. These members may see to protect and pursue their own interests in the region as well, modeling Turkey’s behavior of ad hoc arrangements, new regional alignments, and reversible bilateral understandings, thus creating even greater regional instability.

Second, these tensions reveal troubling divergences between Turkey and the European Union. From the EU perspective, Ankara’s aggressive pursuit of energy interests, disregard for the rule of law within Turkey (which should concern NATO as well), and use of migrants to pressure the European Union and destabilize the European neighborhood are at odds with EU values and interests. In the case of Cyprus, the European Union cannot be an unbiased actor. It supports its member state Cyprus and its ability to advance its economic interests within its EEZ according to international law, as the European Union would with any country elsewhere in the world. And while Turkey is free to pursue its national interests at the expense of collective European interests, its actions move it away from a more constructive partnership or strengthened economic ties with the European Union. And a more problematic EU-Turkey relationship further complicates conflict resolution efforts in the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and the Caucasus.

Eastern Mediterranean Principles
The preamble of NATO’s Charter states that its members pledge to “promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.” All NATO allies, including Turkey, need to promote stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. A first step would be to create an agreed set of principles to include: (1) ensure that all regional partners reap the benefits of energy exploration in the region, with a path toward equitable sharing of energy revenues acting as a confidence-building measure toward restarting the Cyprus peace process; (2) contain Russian influence and presence in the region; (3) ensure NATO’s freedom of action from the Black Sea through to the Mediterranean; (4) work toward regional stability in the Middle East and North Africa region, including counterterrorism efforts; (5) uphold international legal norms and UN resolutions, such as the UN arms embargo on Libya and efforts to reach a cease-fire, as well as countries’ territorial or maritime integrity (regardless of existing disputes); and (6) redouble efforts to avoid future maritime incidents in the Eastern Mediterranean between NATO allies by establishing new procedures.

Stronger U.S. political and security involvement in the region will help strengthen NATO’s resolve in the Eastern Mediterranean, be a bulwark against Russia’s growing military presence, and better balance tensions between France and Turkey. The European Union (and France in particular) will need to identify pragmatic ways to engage with Turkey on a range of issues and not simply denounce its actions. As Turkey’s economic situation deteriorates, greater economic opportunities, such as expanding the EU bilateral trade relationship with Turkey or increasing U.S. foreign direct investment, might encourage Ankara to participate in the development of a regional framework of principles. Unfortunately, these relationships have grown very fragile as tensions have risen, and Turkey’s unilateral actions have significantly destabilized the region. Hopefully, refocusing on a set of agreed principles and incentivizing progress can restore NATO unity and restore focus on protecting its southern flank.

Visits: 467

Redefining National Security for the Post-Pandemic World

This article taken from


Three decades of efforts to broaden the definition of “national security” have largely failed, and it is time to try a new approach. Thinking instead in terms of global security would expand policy discussions beyond national governments and lead to a stronger emphasis on making societies more resilient.

WASHINGTON, DC – The world has spent the last 30 years trying to redefine “national security” in ways that will allow nation-states to prepare for and tackle a wider range of threats to our existence and wellbeing. Alternatively, national security has been juxtaposed with “human security,” again in an effort to focus money and energy on dangers to humanity as much as to national sovereignty.

But those efforts have largely failed, and it is time to try a new approach. Instead of widening our definition of national security, we need to start narrowing it. That means distinguishing national security from global security and putting military security in its place alongside many other equally important but distinct priorities.

We must begin by asking four essential questions: What or who is being protected? What threat or threats are they being protected against? Who is doing the protecting? And how is protection being provided?

In its classic form, national security involves protecting nation-states from military aggression. More precisely, as Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter states, it is about preventing or countering “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

Nation-states now face other threats, including cyberattacks and terrorism, although such attacks generally must be sponsored by one state against another to threaten a country’s territorial integrity or political independence. Hence, these threats really qualify as subsets of military security. Climate change, on the other hand, poses an existential threat to many island states as a result of rising sea levels, and similarly endangers already arid countries by contributing to desertification and water scarcity.

Moreover, whereas the world of 1945 was almost entirely defined by nation-states, today’s security experts must also focus on threats that transcend national borders. Unlike military aggression, phenomena such as terrorism, pandemics, global criminal networks, disinformation campaigns, unregulated migration, and shortages of food, water, and energy do not necessarily threaten the political independence or territorial integrity of a particular state. But they do endanger the safety and wellbeing of the world’s people.

The distinction between national and global security is not just semantic. It goes to the heart of the third question: who is doing the protecting? National security is the province of national governments, and of a fairly small group of homogeneous people within them who traditionally have focused almost entirely on military security. Those establishments have expanded in recent years to take account of issues like cybersecurity, health security, and environmental security, but only at the margins.

Thinking in terms of global security, by contrast, opens the door to participation by a far wider group of people – starting with mayors and governors, who are directly responsible for the safety and welfare of the residents of their states, provinces, and cities. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, for example, US city and state officials have been actively engaged in preventing and protecting against future attacks. They are as likely to talk to their counterparts around the world as national diplomats or defense officials are.

Even more broadly, global security has no official designees. CEOs, civic groups, philanthropists, professors, and self-appointed leaders of every description can launch and join efforts to keep all of us safe. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis has provided many instances of effective leadership from sources other than national governments.

For example, while the US and Chinese governments have used the pandemic to ratchet up bilateral tensions, myriad international networks of researchers, foundations, businesses, and government agencies have been working together to develop treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, with little concern for nationality.

Broader participation in global-security efforts will also increasingly dissolve the boundary between “domestic” and “international” affairs and policy. Health, environment, energy, cybersecurity, and criminal justice have all traditionally been seen as domestic matters, with foreign-policy and security experts regarding defense, diplomacy, and development as entirely separate realms involving relations between countries and international organizations. But this distinction will progressively crumble.

These shifts will in turn create opportunities for a vastly more diverse range of people to sit at the table on global security issues. Despite some gradual changes in conventional military domains in recent years, far more women and people of color occupy prominent positions in city governments, and in fields like health and environmental protection, including environmental justice.

The final piece of the puzzle is how to provide global security. Traditional military security is ultimately focused on winning. But many global threats primarily call for greater resilience – that is, less winning than withstanding. As Sharon Burke of New America has argued, the goal is more to build security at home than to destroy enemies abroad.

We certainly still want to “win,” if winning means prevailing over a virus, or eradicating a terrorist cell or disinformation network. But the deep nature of global threats means they can be reduced, but almost never eliminated. Arming people with the means to recognize and avoid danger, survive trauma, and adapt to new circumstances is a better long-term strategy.

Nearly twice as many Americans have now died of COVID-19 than died in the Vietnam War. But many national leaders in the US and elsewhere remain focused on great-power competition, and appear less concerned with the pandemic’s mounting death toll than with distracting domestic publics by pointing fingers at other countries. And yet the lessons of this crisis will loom large in how we think about and provide for our security in the future.

That will be particularly true for younger generations. New America’s Alexandra Stark, for example, argues that COVID-19 is her generation’s 9/11. Instead of the highly militarized anti-terrorism response that the US adopted in the wake of those attacks, she calls for a new grand strategy “fundamentally oriented around human wellbeing,” refocusing on human health, prosperity, and opportunity. That sounds like security to me.

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Turkey’s Military Doctrine – NECİP TORUMTAY

Turkey‘s Military Doctrine (*)



In order to make a major contribution to the building of security in the present environment of rapid change the military men should   first  evaluate the situation free of conventional approaches and prejudices, and then  analyse the ways and means for adding the concept of defense  more global dimensions. Turkey, on account of its responsibilities within the Alliance and also the Alliance’s defence strategy and the present circumstances in its periphery, allocated a reasonable level of manpower and funds in keeping with her defence oriented security policy.

          At the outset, I would like to express my conviction that this historic initiative, which brings together the highest military representatives of all CSCE countries, is a major step towards the establishment of continuous, tension-free and lasting peace in Europe.

The significance of this forum, at which 35 CSCE countries will discuss all aspects of their understanding of the concepts of defense and offensive action, is evident.

To bring this historic forum to a most successful conclusion for all the participants, as well as to understand and eliminate the differences regarding the existing concepts, intentions and capabilities, it is a prerequisite that the participants should adopt an open and earnest approach to remove the misperceptions of their counterparts.rather than trying to influence each other’s public opinions.

In order to make a major contribution to the building of security in the present environment of rapid change, what befalls upon us, the military men, is  first to evaluate the situation free of conventional approaches and prejudices, and then to analyse the ways and means for adding the concept of defense  more global dimensions in the future.

Lesson Drawn From History and Basic Principles:


The historical, geographical and political factors as well as the national objectives thereof are the basic determinants of any country’s policy.


Invariably, the lessons drawn from the developments in the period of Ottoman Empire’s disintegration, and from the events subsequent to the founding of the Republic, particularly the ones after the Second World War, have all played an important role in the formulation of Turkey’s current security policy. Most naturally, my country’s security policy is also inspired by future oriented considerations.

Moreover, geographically speaking, Turkey lies at the cross roads of three continents, borders a region with divergent political, economic, cultural and religious structures. It is a next door neighbour with one of the superpowers. Unavoidably, Turkey’s security policy is affected by all these particularities.

In the 20th century, Turkey has made its national choises in this context towards modernization, social and economic development and a democratic way of life.

Turkey has all along been aware of the fact that these objectives can be attained only by living in peace. It is this very approach which was embraced by all of the Turkish governments in the republican era and which has found its expression in the famous dictum “Peace at home, Peace in the world” laid down by Atatürk at the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

Following the First World War, Turkey has overcome the threat of disintegration thanks to the resolve of the Turkish people which initiated the national independence movement in May 1919 and carried it to the final victory in 1922. This victory was only possible through full dedication by all Turks.

The Lausanne Treaty of 1923, has established the balance in her region and consequently Turkey entered into the period of the longest lasting peace ever in her history.


In short, the foundation of the national state brought along radical changes also in Turkey’s security policy. Since then the primary objective has been the preservation and protection of the independence and the territorial and national integrity of the republic and all its rights emanating from international law and treaties.

Turkey strives to maintain its economic and social development in peace and freedom.

Realism, refraining from adventures and peace orientation are the basic principles to which Turkey firmly adheres. Nevertheless, Turkey regards the protection of her national borders as the primary duty. Also it does not covet any part of other country’s territories.

Turkey has all along attributed importance to the maintenance of sufficient military force to deter a potential aggression, and to inter­national cooperation for defensive arrangements, her membership in the Balkan and Sadabad Pacts of the interwar era attests to it.

In keeping with its wish to live in peace, respect to the principles of independence and territorial integrity, non-intervention in internal affairs, and cooperation based on mutual interest, Turkey aims at main­taining good relations with all countries and especially with the countries which have common borders with Turkey.

Yet, Soviet Union’s refusal to renew the Treaty of Friendship. Neutrality and Non-Aggression of 1925, the tension caused by demands on the Turkish Straits and territorial claims from Eastern Anatolia immediately after the W.W.II and the ensuing defense requirements impelled Turkey to look for new arrangements for its security apart from neutrality. This quest has ended in 1952 when Turkey joined NATO. This choice also reflects my country’s European vocation.

As the strategy of both Turkey and NATO is defense oriented, this cooperation is based on realistic foundations of common objectives, values and interests.


Turkey wishes that the international relations which are variable in long term be shaped as far as possible by dialogue and mutual consent of those concerned. She regards the principle of pacta sund servanda as essential. She wishes that the existing international problems be resolved through negotiation and in accordance with the principle of equity. Nevertheless, she is steadfast in considering as an inalienable duty to protect all of her rights emanating from international law and treaties.

The military doctrine of such a policy shaped by these principles and objectives could only be defensive.

The lessons drawn from history, her geographical position and her choice of democratic regime as well as future oriented considera­tions add up to the formulation of Turkey’s security policy along the following lines:

The first objective is to preserve and protect the independence and the unity of the nation, the indivisibility of the country and the republic. The second objective is to contribute to the lessening of international tension, and to just and lasting peace and in freedom. The third aim is to prevent with credible deterrence the threat to use or use of force. Last, but not the least, to benefit from collective security systems.

Factors Affecting Turkey’s Security Policy:

In the collective security system to which she belongs Turkey is a flank country that does not enjoy uninterrupted geographic link with Central Europe.

Turkey controls the crucial Turkish straits which form the sole passageway between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The defense of the Straits are vital for Turkey.


Turkey borders two Warsaw Pact countries, namely, Bulgaria to the west and the Soviet Union to the east. Turkey is geographically positioned as a forward area; in case of an armed conflict two separate theaters of war in the East and in the West would be formed.

The Turkish Straits are under the potential threat of land forces through the Thrace, the amphibious forces from the Black Sea, as well as of airborne operations. The defence of the Straits lacks strategic depth.

The Soviet Union is a superpower and the Warsaw Pact still holds its superiority in conventional forces vis-a-vis NATO.

Adjacent to a politically volatile and unstable region in the South and in the East, Turkey is exposed to the spill-over effects of the regional conflicts. It has to take into account also the military strengths and capabilities of non-participating countries in the region.

Turkey’s infrastructure is not suitable for rapid force deploy­ments or transfers from one region to another:

In view of the factors I have just enumerated, Turkey could not sustain her security all by herself under the existing conditions in a general war. Thus NATO has become an integral part of Turkey’s security policy.

Turkey’s defence oriented security policy is in full harmony with the NATO Alliance’s defence oriented collective security policy. The common objective is to preserve peace in freedom. In order to attain this objective, we are always in favor of utilizing the available political means. In this regard, we believe that sufficient military strength and ability needs to be maintained to prevent war and to provide for effective defence.

We support the Alliance’s strategy of deterrence to prevent the threat or use of force. We are also in favor of comprehensive and constructive dialogue including arms control and disarmament efforts.


In the event of an armed attack, Turkey will defend to the end her interests, restore territorial integrity and do its utmost to terminate the war as soon as possible.

As a front line country, Turkey is also within the reach of the mass destruction arms of neighbouring Warsaw Pact countries. She contributes to the maintenance of NATO’s credible deterrence, and has adopted its strategy of forward defence and flexible response.

Turkey aims to set up and maintain a force level and structure, based on mobilisation, with enough capability to enforce the aforemen­tioned policy and strategy within a collective security policy.

What Turkey aims to have and maintain, taking into account also the reinforcements from the Alliance, is minimum force for credible deterrence and asssured defence. Such a force will have peacetime and wartime capabilities. In peace, it will contribute to the deterrence by the Alliance.

In war, it will have the capability to defend the territory and to stop the aggressor at the frontier, reinforcing its peacetime forces for mobilization. It will also gain the capability of counter attack and re-establishing the territorial integrity with the reinforcements from the Alliance.

In the formation of the force structure, maximum efficiency with minimum force is taken as the basic criterion.

The existing force structure and strength of Turkey, when com­pared with the Warsaw Pact forces in he region, fall far behind, either in quantitative or in qualitative terms or both in certain cases. Our aim is to reach parity at lower levels.

Turkey has deployed her in-place forces at three separate fronts, namely, the Thrace and the Straits front, the Eastern Anatolia front and the South-Eastern Anatolia front.


The defence of the Turkish Straits is vital for both Turkey and the Alliance. Therefore, given the lack of strategic depth, Turkey has to maintain in Thrace a level of force which would be able to defend the region against attacks coming from land, amphibious and airborne units far superior in strength and structure.

Separate armies are earmarked for the defence of Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia.

The forces at all three fronts are of a strength and structure, based on mobilization, to defend their respective fronts and hold the aggressor for a limited period of time. Even after having mobilized all of her forces, Turkey would still need in all three fronts the Alliance’s land, naval, and air force requirements for consistent defence and reinstitution of territorial integrity.

Depending on the duration of the war, Turkey’s need for resupply would gradually increase.

Under these circumstances, the following three elements are important for Turkey’s defence in a general war:

l.Reception facilities for the reinforcements and the related infrastructure,

2.Timely arrival of the reinforcements to their designated deployment areas,

3.Uninterrupted flow of supply.

Therefore keeping safe and open the sea lines of communication is vitally important for continuous flow of reinforcements, logistical support and resupplies.

Let me summarize our views as follows:

  • The NATO Alliance constitutes an integral factor of our

security policy.

  • Our main objective is the preservation of peace in freedom and prevention of war.
  • Deterrence is the main element for prevention of war.
  • The continuing importance of nuclear weapons in maintain­ing deterrence cannot be denied.
  • Turkey will not be the first to attack.
  • Turkey will protect her rights emanating from international law and treaties.
  • In case of an aggression, the territory will be defended and in case of loss of territory, territorial integrity will be restituted.

Turkey has adopted NATO’s strategy of forward defence and flexible response:

Turkey, taking also into account the Alliance’s contribution, aims for a force posture based on mobilization sufficient for credible deter­rence and assured defence.

Turkey relies on the reinforcements and the logistical support of the Alliance.

The present forces will have the strength and the structure to defend the territory and hold the aggressor for a certain period of time, and at the same time, the capability to launch a counter offensive to recover lost territory and to reinsure territorial integrity with the support of allied reinforcement.

It is imperative that the sea lines or communication are kept safe and open.

Turkey’s limited economic and industrial capacity and her limited resources render it necessary that the internal and external resources be utilized in the most rational manner.


Turkey wishes and makes every effort to develop with all of her neighbours good relations based on mutual benefits. Considerable developments have been achieved in good neighbourly relations with the Soviet Union and other East European countries in all fields and economic domain.

Turkey, on account of its responsibilities within the Alliance and also the Alliance’s defence strategy and the present circumstances in its periphery, allocated a reasonable level of manpower and funds in keeping with her defence oriented security policy.

It is evident that there is a close relationship between the defence effort and economic and technological development level. The negative effect of economic constraints are felt in Turkey more than in many other countries. If we have to make comparisons, the most reliable indicators can be derived from the percentage of GNP devoted to and the per capita expenditure allocated for defence as well as the size of a country, population, fronts to be defended, the civilian infrastructure and the like. Related data would reveal that my country’s defence effort is readily comparable to that of her neighbours. Although our experts will expand on this point together with other technical issues, under relevant agenda items, I would like to say that 1989 defence expenditures of Turkey were 3.8% of the GNP when compared with her neighbours, this percentage is the lowest in the region.

Turkey believes that the enhancement of mutual security and confidence in Europe depends on decreasing the probability of confron­tation and increasing stability. The CSCE process with all its aspects and the new European order it forsees, in our view, constitutes the main driving power of such an endeavour. Consequently, she wholeheartedly supports the arms control and disarmament negotiations. Bringing the Warsaw Pact’s conventional forces in certain categories down to parity with NATO forces will be the first indication of increased stability in Europe. Turkey considers this verifiability of the result of the CFE Treaty to be the most important factor in increasing stability in Europe.Turkey believes that increased security through lower force levels aimed at the CFE negotiations can only be realized with a viable verification regime.

Increasing security and stability in Europe depends as much on confidence and security building measures as it does on arms reductions. Transparency has become the key factor in increasing security and stability both in the CFE and CSBM negotiations.

Another important factor in increasing security and stability in Europe is the political intentions.

No matter how peace-oriented the political intentions may be, it will not be possible to talk about a lasting environment of security and stability in Europe as long as these intentions are not reflected on military posture and structure. If we are to adopt a defensive military doctrine, our political intentions should be transposed on military pos­tures and structure. However, we must not accept as stabilising an idea whereby countries with inferior defence capabilities are left as they are while the superiority of others is consolidated.


When the points I have just mentioned will be realized, Turkey,parallel with the confidence and stability in her region and in line with the new threat assessment, plans to reduce her armed forces and to make necessary changes in her force structure.

We believe that the ongoing CFE and the CSBM negotiations in Vienna will contribute to security and stability, and that these negotia­tions will bear fruit in 1990 with the conclusion of a CFE Treaty.


(*)Statement by General Necip Torumtay at the CBSM MilitaryDoctrine Seminar, Vienna, 19 January 1990

Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy”, Vol 15, Nos. 1-2


Visits: 314



İlter Türkmen

The political cohesion of the Alliance is a concept which goes beyond harmonization or concertation of foreign policy attitudes and initiatives. It is basically dependent on  the credibility of the deterrence, commitment to the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law which can only be materialized if all Allied countries have democra­tic system of government, the harmonization of the interests of mem­bers, the avoidance of prolonged conflict among partners and a dynamic pursuit of Alliance objectives.

(*)This paper was presented to the Turkish Atlantic Treaty Association Symposium on “NATO After Three Decades” in İstanbul on July 7, 1979

          Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy” Vol.8, Nos. 1-2


Broadly speaking, the political cohesion of the Alliance is a concept which goes beyond harmonization or concertation of foreign policy attitudes and initiatives. It is basically dependent on the follo­wing elements: the credibility of the deterrence (nuclear strategic forces, theater nuclear forces, conventional forces), the commitment to the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rules of law which can only be materialized if all Allied countries have democra­tic system of government, the harmonization of the interests of mem­bers, the avoidance of prolonged conflict among partners and a dynamic pursuit of Alliance objectives.

  1. Under prevailing international conditions, the security of the members of NATO rests mainly on the balance between the Atlantic Alliance and the Warsaw Pact. Although this balance reflects primarily the equivalance between the strategic nuclear forces of the United States and the Soviet Union, it includes such other factors as the ratio between the conventional forces of the two sides, the degree of political solidarity among the members of the opposing Alliance systems and the implications of the gains or losses of either side in the ongoing political competition in various regions of the world. The process of detente, despite its tortuous course, can foster the objectives of the Alliance only if the members of the Alliance can preserve their cohesion and are able to act in a way which would not permit the exploitation of detente with the aim of undermining their security.

On the other hand, political strength of the Alliance is based on the fact that at present all its members have democratic regimes, sustained in many of them by strong social structures, efficient and pro­ductive economic systems and superior technological performance, that they can display flexibility and adaptability in the face of the profound transformation affecting the world as a whole, instead of being entrapped in misleading slogans and stale ideological app­roaches, It is only by making full use of these advantages that the Alliance can, not withstanding the difficulties it encounters, achive progress in its quest of ensuring peace and stability, promote app­ropriate measures of arms control and disarmament and conduct East-West relationship on a mutually beneficial basis.

  1. The view that the defensive shield of the Atlantic Alliance can be effective only to the degree that it is based on the political solidarity between member countries has dominated the evolution of NATO since the very beginning. With the fading away of the nuclear superiority for the West, the advent of the era of the equivalence between NATO and the Warsaw Pact strategic nuclear forces, and the consequent increase in the risks inherent in a decision to re­sort to nuclear arms, the need to maintain a high degree of political cohesion among Alliance members has acquired an even greater Importance. This has led to a strengthening of the mechanism of po­litical consultations and to the enlargement of the scope of con­sultations to cover world-wide developments, especially those which have or might have a bearing on the global military and political power balance. The management of the relations with the East, the need to gear the process of detente in a way which would not be detrimental to the collective and individual interests of member countries has been still another factor inciting Alliance members to ensure a certain degree of parallelism in their policies towards Eas­tern Europe.

4.With the beginning of the policy of “peaceful coexistence” which the Soviets have adopted after the death of Stalin with the purpose of pursuing competition with the West with all means short of war, a greater harmony of views between the members of the AtIantice had become essential. It is to cope with this challenge that the NATO Council had set up in 1956 a Committee of Three Foreign Ministers to recommend ways and means of strengthening inter allied non-military cooperation. This report exercised a deep influ­ence on political consultations, underlining that there cannot be unity in defence and disunity in political viewpoints, the Report stressed the importance of making political consultations a habit. The Report pointed out that “the essential thing is that on all occasions and in all circumstances, member governments, before acting or pronouncing, should “keep the interests and the requirements of the Alliance in mind.” It was further said that a member government should not, without adequate advance consultation, adopt firm po­licies or make major political pronouncements on matters which significantly affect the Alliance or any of its members, unless circums­tances make such prior consultations obviously and demonstrably impossible.

With the development of East-West relations and the advent of the era of detente, the need of intensive political consultations among allies was even better understood. Under conditions of de­tente, the assessment of Soviet policies and the study of possible changes in those policies, the evaluation of the reaction to action by the NATO Alliance are essentia! for the fulfillment of the tasks incumbent upon the Alliance both in the military and political fields. In 1967, the Harmel Report had emphasized the need to deepen and improve the practice of frank and timely consultations.

  1. Although the system of political consultations has gradually evolved, it has not of course reached the level of coordination of action. The instances of coordination continue to be rare and this is understandable. NATO is not a supranational organisation and was not intended to be one. The decisions are taken on common consent and in matters not directly related to the treaty area the
    Alliance cannot and should not go beyond the harmonization of positions as a maximum objective and to a full and timely discussion among equal partners when the subject matter concerns the policies of an individual member with implications for the Alliance.

In discussing the political cohesion of the Alliance, the main question is, therefore, to determine to what extent the present con­cepts, procedures and practices can contribute to the objective of harmonizing policies and of preventing Allies from taking lines of action working at cross-purposes or from embarking individually on policies not compatible with the justifiable interests of other partners.

  1. Looking back, we can point to many failures of the system consultation as well as to many instances in which the system functioned efficiently. The first important failure occured in 1956, when Great Britain and France decided to intervene against Egypt, following the nationalization of the Suez Canal without informing in advance their other allies, including the United States.

Other instances incompatible with the concept of consultations can be mentioned, in particular the contacts which proceeded the normalization of relations between China and the United States, the Nixon-Brezhnev Pact on the avoidance of nuclear war of 1973 and the nuclear alert called by Washington during the 1973 Middle East War.

Against those failures of consultation within the Alliance, one could ofcourse  enumerate examples of encouraging results, in particular within the field of direct alliance responsibility, such as NATO defence and relations between Western Europe, the United States and the Soviet Union, on which extensive and in most cases trustful consultations took place. These are the Strategic Arms Li­mitations talks, the preparation and follow-up of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Mutual Force Reduc­tion negotiations.

  1. How much the process of consultation is indispensable was revealed once again in connection with the SALT Agreement. Although consultations on this question have been numerous and quite detailed, some implications of the Treaty concerning, in particular, the verification aspect have not emerged until the last moment. Some decisions related to nuclear defense in Europe and which has a bearing at least for future SALT talks have been adopted without consultations.

SALT 2 has involved only the United States and the Soviet Union. But, SALT 3 will have direct implications for Europe, as it will deal with weapons of the gray area. Disarmament and arms control are subjects which will therefore be discussed in depth and more intensively by the Alliance. It is in those discussions that the close relationship between defense planning and arms control and disarmament will have to be weighed from the point of view of the security of the Alliance. The Council will have to assess whether it would be more advantageous for the Atlantic Alliance to devise defense programs based on the introduction of new technology or to seek arms control agreements imposing restrictions to both NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the field of new weapons systems.

  1. One subject which is perennially discussed in NATO Council meetings without producing even a modest degree of harmonization is certainly the Middle East. From the geographical point of view, it has always been erroneous to view the politics and defense of the Mediterranean as entering into the field of direct responsibility of the Alliance, but to consider problems relating to policies towards North Africa or the Middle East as extraneous issues. Political developments and defense issues in the basin of the Mediterranean cannot of course be studied without taking into account the situation in contiguous areas, North Africa and the Middle East. To what extent, the security of the Alliance and East-West relations are affected by the developments in the Middle East have been recon­firmed by the reaction to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and the events in Iran. It might be presumptuous to say that more intensive consultations on the Middle East would have enabled the Allies to foresee with more perspicacity the crisis in Iran, but it could have perhaps injected more caution in the policies which pro­ceeded from the comfortable assumption that there was nothing to be feared with regard to the long-term stability of that country under the Shah’s regime .Similarly, not enough attention has been paid to Afghanistan and policies towards Pakistan have been, to say the least, erratic.

We have now in the Middle East a situation which offers a combination of hopeful and dreadful perspectives. The NATO countries need more than ever a correct assessment of the developments in this area and should be able to prevent individual policies incom­patible with each other or directed to achieve opposite objectives.

  1. Economic policies are inevitably an element of defense and diplomacy. But the structure of NATO as an organisation does not allow it to tackle economic problems. On the other hand, it is becoming more and more obvious that in the discussions taking place in international economic and financial organisations, political and defense factors are far from being taken into consideration. In the light of the oil crisis of 1973, and particularly of the new shortages appearing after the events of Iran, the NATO Council should be able to develop a practice which would enable it to include in its evaluation work economic factors and to urge governments to be, in their approaches to problems in international economic organisations more alert to the security and political implications of eco­nomic decisions.

The shortcomings of the Alliance in the economic and financial field have received a new attention recently because of the economic difficulties experienced by some NATO countries, in particular Turkey and Portugal. In such cases, the Alliance should be able to assess the need of likewise countries for economic assistance in the light of the burden they carry in the field of defense, to bear in mind the consequences which would ensue for the Alliance if economic constraints provoke dangerous political and social explosions and encourage and urge its members to give weight to all those considerations in their bilateral and multilateral economic and financial in their bilateral and multilateral economic and financial policies and actions.

  • In proceeding to consultations, larger and smaller members have different perspectives. The large countries would like, to a maximum extent, preserve their freedom of action, but at the same time secure compliance by smaller countries to their policies and initiatives. The smaller countries on the other hand would like to have a feeling of participation, an opportunity to express their views on matters which can have repercussions upon them. They seek to commit larger members to consultations in emergency situations. Of course, the roles might easily be reversed and there might be instances when smaller countries, for varying reasons, would like to evade a commitment to support certain policies and approaches.
  1. The cohesion of an alliance is not only influenced by the degree of political consultations and harmonization of policies it achieves, The visible signs of interdependence and mutual aid are equally important. Member countries experience from time to time political difficulties or economic hardships. Even if the Alliance cannot cope with these problems institutionally, the members of the Alliance should act towards this country in a spirit of partnership and so­lidarity.

In principle, countries which have united their efforts for collective defense and committed themselves to political cooperation should have no enduring conflict between them. Disputes which might erupt between Allies should be settled rapidly in a way which would not affect the political solidarity and the military effectiveness of the Alliance. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. If, therefore, a dispute occurs between member countries, those which are not involved in it have the great responsibility of maintaining a strict neutrality, while endevouring in a discreet way to encourage the parties to negotiations. Nothing can be more damaging for the alliance if countries depart from this rule and try to bring pressure upon one of the parties by resorting to methods detrimental to the purpose of the alliance,

  1. In assessing the contribution of political consultations to the cohesion of the alliance, we have to examine the impact of the fragmentation of the process of consultation. Indeed, the process of consultation suffers at present from a double fragmentation. The separate consultations going on among the member countries of the European Economic Community and the new trend of holding exclusive consultations among some prominent members of the alliance in summit meetings, the most recent examples of such meetings, being the Guadelupe summit.

As far as consultations between members of the EEC are concerned, two considerations should be underlined. Firstly, although there can be no objection to intimate consultations within the framework of EEC to fulfill the purposes of the Rome Treaty, it is significant that these consultations are much more wide ranging and in depth than the consultations taking place in NATO. It can be argued that this is understandable, since the EEC aims eventually at a political union. But even if this is so, one should remember that the political objectives of NATO in a board sense, ecompassing also collective defense and equilibrium, detente and stability in Europe, imply by their very nature the same degree of political interdependence and cohesion as the EEC. The second consideration is that the EEC consultations are distracting from the need to consult between NATO members. What happens very often is that, once the members of the Common Market have discussed an issue among themselves, the United States is consulting with one or some members of the EEC and the NATO process is forgotten. In most international organisations and forums, as well as in various capitals, consultations among representatives of NATO countries have ceased to be practiced. In some forums, consultations among NATO members take place after consultations within the EEC and tend, therefore, to duplicate them in a perfunctory manner.

The strengthening and further development of EEC is certainly in the interest of the North Atlantic Alliance as a whole. No NATO country, non-member of the EEC can therefore oppose the close links between members of the EEC and their desire to harmonize their positions prior to consultations among all NATO countries. But no useful purpose is served if this process is used in a way which erodes the substance of the process of consultations in NATO. In matters which come also under the purview of NATO con­sultations, it should be equally in the interest of EEC members to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the views of non-EEC NATO countries before reaching joint EEC positions. In such instances, EEC  countries  can  perhaps  have  some  preliminary  consultations, but postpone the formulation of  joint or coordinated positions until after an exchange of views has taken place in NATO. On the other hand, on questions which are more related to NATO than EEC, the process of consultations can be conducted directly within the NATO Alliance,

  1. The Guadelupe typ of exclusive summit meetings affect consultations both in NATO and the EEC. That the United States, France, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom, by virtues of their political, military and economic power, have greater responsibility in the international arena cannot be disputed. Close bilateral contacts between Heads of Government of these countries and harmony between their policies can only enhance the influence and effectiveness of NATO. But an institutional pro­cess of consultations “a quatre” or “a cinq” is another matter. This is found to create misgivings among smaller members which are understandably opposed to the idea of a kind of directoire of big powers. Even if they are subsequently briefed extensively, those countries will feel that some aspects of restricted consultations have been withheld from them or that they have been denied the opportunity of presenting their views before important decisions af­fecting them individually and the Alliance as a whole have been taken. There is a strong case, therefore, for abandoning Guadelupe type summit meetings unless there is a compelling reason for holding them.
  2. In its fourth decade, the Alliance will continue to be indis­pensable for the security of its members, and as an instrument which enable them to achieve their common political purposes.

In a rapidly changing world, in order to fulfill its mission, the Alliance will need to display more dynamism, more adaptability and a greater political cohesion. The Alliance has so far successfully met several challenges. But under existing conditions and in view of prospective political changes, political cooperation is  bound to become increasingly important.

Visits: 450





The “Atlantic Community” is an expression of  the unity of destiny and the identity of interest between the United States, Canada and Europe brought forth by the Second World War. The frictions, which have been intensified from time to time, between some European powers and the United States may lead to conclusions contrary to this reality.

Muharrem Nuri Birgi

(*) Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy” Vol.3, No. 4


One of the most important realities brought forth by the Second World War and its aftermath is that unity of destiny and the identity of interest between the United States, Canada and Europe constitute a lasting geo­political fact and precept. The term “Atlantic Community”  is, therefore, an expression of this reality.

A near-sighted look at the frictions, which have been intensified from time to time during recent years, between some European powers and the United States may lead to conclusions contrary to this reality. However, ninety per cent of these frictions result from endeavours made not to des­troy the Atlantic Community but to adapt it to various developing condi­tions. Yet, if errors accumulate, long-term aims shall have been sacrificed in favour of short-term appearances, and if the dangers are ignored, this process of adaptation may be replaced by explosions and divisions. Des­pite the strength of the logic ordained by geo-political realities, history contains many examples of deviations from the path of reality simply be­cause of lack of wisdom.

The concept of the Atlantic Community has in the North Atlantic Trea­ty Organization found its most comprehensive and effective legal and political expression and military organization.

Within its overall political balance, Turkey has secured the support and cooperation required both for its development and security by basing its place in the Atlantic Community on legal foundations, through its membership in the Council of Europe and associate membership in the Common Market on one hand and through its entry into NATO on the other. Yet, a number of developments are taking place both within Europe and in the relations between Europe and the United States. In the face of these developments what is the present position of Turkey and the state of the foundations on which it has based its policy?

The principal points of  these developments may be sketched as follows :


1 – The arrival, following the Second World War, at a point of maxi­mum solidarity and togetherness in the Atlantic Community within the fra­mework of NATO, from the military standpoint, and through the Marshall Plan, as well as a number of bilateral treaties, from the economic view­point.

2 -Then came a gradual attempt to show the cooperation with theUnited States and its military protection as an American domination over Europe, with the increasing frictions between the two shores of the At­lantic and the transformation of these frictions into a viscious circle through increasing economic and technological rivalries.

3The continuation of two divergent currents among the advanced European powers, one aiming at the realization of the United Europe and the other creating obstacles for this unity – due to economic rivalries and attempts at establishing political superiority – runnning parallel to, and in­teracting with the frictions and rivalries which I mentioned above.

For the Western powers, which had come out of the Second World War in a state of utter exhaustion, two vital necessities existed in all their gravity : to achieve an early economic recovery, and to reach the capa­bility of resisting an invasion by Soviet Russia, the danger of which had be­come imminent. While all these needs were secured by the United States through NATO, the Marshall Plan and several bilateral treaties, the pri­celess value of this tremendous protection and assistance of the United States could not but have psychologically crushing, and even in certain respects irritating, aspects. However, so long as a fear for life, and eco­nomic exhaustion dominated the picture, this aspect of the matter was hardly felt.

The unprecedented economic and technological development of Wes­tern Europe and the success of Soviet Russia in transforming the Cold War, which carried with it the danger of a real hot war at any moment, into a form of detente, pushed the fear for life into the background (in many circles it altogether disappeared), and economic and technological rivalry began between the United States and the advanced European pow­ers, which not only no longer needed American assistance, but had reached its level in many fields.

At the same time, a situation began to develop, of direct interest to Turkey. The attitude of highly advanced powers in Western Europe to­wards their developing European allies began to change. Time has shown that the principal factor leading the highly developed powers in Western Europe to firmly embrace their less developed allies within NATO, as far as possible under conditions of equality, was the fear for life created by the probability of an armed invasion by Soviet Russia. In actual fact, this danger of Soviet invasion has not at the present day been eliminated. But as I pointed out above, Soviet propaganda has, with an excellent knowledge of the weaknesses of the West, succeeded in wrapping the Cold War, which presented the danger of turning into hot war, with the cloak of detente. Today, no one can claim that any one of the NATO countries is facing the danger of becoming a victim of an armed Soviet invasion in a matter of days or months-and possibly years. Yet, the frightening scale of increase in Soviet arms, their establishment of naval superiority in all seas and their failure to end activities for creating division among the allies and particularly for separating Europe from America and for destroying every one of them from within, their failure to refuse to go beyond a certain point in both discussions for mutual arms reductions and for the estab­lishment of security and their anxiousness to maintain at such points mi­litary and political superiority to the other side-in other words to weaken the other party – should be considered as evidences to dissuade everyone from claiming that the danger of Soviet invasion is over. Particularly those countries geographically in critical locations are compelled not to over­look the possibility that this danger may, all of a sudden, turn again into an armed invasion.

However, at this moment, particularly in highly developed western countries, the existing detente is considered by the majority as an irre­vocable step towards peace. A large portion of those who are not so opti­mistic wish to believe that through untiring political pressure and leader­ship in setting a good example, and by establishing a political and psych­ological atmosphere of security, the arms may indeed be reduced some day; in other words, putting the cart before the horse, they wish to believe that instead of establishing security through a genuine disarmament, it would be easier to get the parties to drop their arms by creating an at­mosphere of security through a number of promises regarding the observ­ance of human rights, non-agression and friendship. In this miscalcula­tion of the existing dangers and over-optimism, much influence is due to the younger generations which have not gone through the chilling exper­iences of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, and who listen to the story of those days as if they are listening to a dull lecture of a pedantic professor.

All these have contributed, in the developed western countries, to pushing matters of defense into the background, and bringing economic and technological problems to the foreground. The situation being as it is, the highly developed western powers have started to play the part of a sort  of  first-class  United  Europe among themselves,  throwing   aside or drawing in their wake those who happen to be less fortunate in economic development.

The countries which have made great progress in commerce, industry, economy and technology certainly have problems to discuss and resolve among themselves. In fact, within the Common Market there are countries like «the Nine» on one side, and other associate members like Turkey which are candidates for full membership – countries which through their own volition have agreed to become full members after a certain period of time. However, the Nine have expanded the nature of their communion. There is today an institutionalized Nine. Their ministers or prime ministers meet officially not only to discuss economic matters but also to resolve political and military problems and to determine a joint basis for discus­sions with the United States on political and military matters.

To express it nakedly, those members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (including Turkey) which are outside the Nine are now faced with the fait acompli that a number of questions are either presented to the NATO Council in an already well-defined manner as predetermined by the Nine, or these could be put into execution even without consulting NATO. We hear that the Nine inform their NATO allies which are not among the Nine of matters they have discussed if and when they consider it appropriate. There is no need to stress that this can never be accepted as satisfactory.

If in the course of relations between Europe and the United States – which I will deal with a little later – there is a necessity for a number of prior consultations and preparations among the Europeans – not to es­tablish a front against the United States but to enhance the existing cooperation – there is a Eurogroup within NATO formed for this purpose. This should provide a medium, and not a treaty within the treaty, for those European Allies who might wish to come together regularly to discuss the sharing of defense expenditures, manufacture of arms, etc., and naturally Americans and Canadians should be regularly kept informed. Why then have not the Nine considered this procedure adequate and why have they turned themselves into a separate institution? Here it becomes necessary to make an analysis of the French attitude.

France, even before de Gaulle, had considered itself as the leader of Europe. This claim has lead France to conflicts from time to time with Britain and Germany. Ever since de Gaulle’s advent to power, the French political scene has been dominated by the conviction that the prerequisite for establishing French supremacy in Europe was getting American hands off Europe. Even after de Gaulle’s death, in other words today, this con­tinues to be so. This policy, which exceeds the potential of France, has made its most evident effect felt within NATO. The well-known de Gaulle statements, could be summed up as follows : “The North Atlantic Treaty and its organization, NATO, are separate things. I am staying in the Treaty, but I am withdrawing from NATO, that is, from the military organization and integration of the Treaty.” France has advanced a unilateral theory which is extremely hard to defend logically and legally. Without with­drawing its hands completely from the NATO military organization, i.e. by mainting contact through a number of observers and through other for­mulas, France has established a “national strike force” including nuclear arms but having a limited practical value. In defense of its action France argued openly or by implication that the United States could not be trusted; therefore one had to rely on national forces and that Europe should have a nuclear force independent of the United States. In reality, however, the membership of France within the military organization of NATO was not at all an obstacle to France’s developing a nuclear strike force of its own. In fact, Great Britain has a nuclear force which is at least as big as that of France, but Great Britain has not left the NATO inte­gration. Moreover, while de Gaulle stated that Europe should have its own force he did not conceal that France would not agree to share its own nuclear force with other European countries.

My purpose is not to criticize the French policy but merely to state the reason why the «Nine» behave as if they have thrown NATO aside. Since, in order to reach a common position in a community, it is customary to reach an agreement on the basis of the maximum acceptable to the dissenting partner, the dominant view among the «Nine» has generally been that of France, which does not participate in the Eurogroup within NATO and which claims that since, where the United States is present its views weigh heavily, European issues should be discussed only in those parleys where the United States is not present. Recently a French paper, referring to the tightening of the rope by the French Foreign Minister al­most to the breaking point on every occasion, stated that this might lead France’s allies to get used to acting eventually without France. Considering the position of France within the West European community, this guess may not be one hundred per cent true, but in certain matters, one may think, it is not absolutely wrong either.

Looking at the present state of the «Nine», quarrelling on almost every economic issue, anxieties of superiority and egotism making themselves apparent in political matters, one might think that such a community should not be highly effective and could in any case hardly replace the NATO Council. This would be a shortsighted conclusion and should not  be an excuse for Turkey  to remain outside  the door of the  «Nine»  as far as political and military matters are concerned. Since Turkey is not yet a full member of the Common Market, it may not be possible for it to demand full participation in all meetings of the Nine. However, a sui generis practical solution can be found for its participation in discussions on such vital issues as defence, security, East-West relations, and the future of European unity. We are living in an age of empiricism and pragmatism; in politics a way out can always be found to every problem when there is a will. This problem, which is a simple one, should be no exception in this general atmosphere of pragmatism. Casting aside the doubts on the efficacy of the «Nine», there is a problem of principle : if we are a part of Europe and if we are a member of the Atlantic Community, all that this necessitates should be carried out. The problem is beyond being an issue of pride or prestige. It is a matter of serving the needs of our foreign policy and of our basic interests.

In saying this I fully realize that alongside what the «Nine» should do for us, we sould not forget that there are many things we also have to do. To become part of the community formed by the developed members of the Atlantic Community, which is the brain and main source of the present civilization where technology, industry, commerce and culture play an ex­tremely important role, requires an early approach to their level of devel­opment. Otherwise, there are bound to be differences between us, and the effects of these differences will be felt at the most unexpected moments. It is hard to say that the present development and progress of Turkey rep­resents the maximum of its potential. We have to mobilize, in a scientific and systematic manner, all our energy and means because the time is over for consoling ourselves by boasting of some results obtained here and there.

In this connection I wish to add my belief that considerations such as “does Turkey belong to the West or to the East? Turkey should choose one” refer not to the conditions of today but to those of the past centuries, because, with the elimination of sense of distance, comrnunication be­coming a matter of moments, and civilizations interacting with each other, the division of the world into parts such as Europe, Asia, etc. has almost become meaningless in many respects. Today even the most fanatical states accept modern technology and the way of living composed by it. The only way for us is the one followed by almost all the countries of the world: i.e. to attain a level of industry, trade and culture which allows everyone in the country to benefit from prosperity. We believe that the most abundant possibilities and methods for attaining this are to be found in the Atlantic Community, of which we are a part thanks to the opportun­ity created by our geo – political position. We have to make up for the time lost without delay.

I would like to pass over now to the relations between Europe and the United States.

There is still not a unified European position, attitude or voice. As I pointed out above there is a French position which is unique and which can even be described as anti-European unity in some respects. Even within Benelux (Belgium, Holland, and Luxemburg) sometimes different voices are heard. Although Germany and Great Britain have common points, they also differ in details.

Despite all these differences, in European countries – even including France in certain respects – and in the United States, there is a conviction that both sides depend on each other. !n the beginning of my article I stat­ed that the Atlantic Community was a constant geo-political reality re­vealed by the Second World War. This reality creates the hope that cer­tain frictions that now exist between the developed European powers and the United States have after all a ceiling; in other words, the rope may be tightened but it will not break. The fact that even France does not object to the stationing of American Military Forces in Europe and feels it ne­cessary to state its attachment to the North Atlantic Treaty might be considered as a sign of hope in that respect.

Immediately after the Second World War, a sort of balance was es­tablished between the worn-out Europe and the United States, a super­power which played the role of a protective parent – a relationship between the protector and the protected. Now what is involved between the enriched group of European powers claiming a personality and the United States is a balance of partnership. The difference between the two situations can be reduced if realism prevails over mutual sensitivity. Then a trouble – free transition from one to the other would become possible. Furthermore, its status of super power gives United States a position of su­periority vis-a-vis European powers, which are unable to unite and coor­dinate their energies, and the assessment of the measure of this superi­ority brings forth a number of highly delicate issues.

A review of the current points of friction would reveal that most of these are between the developed countries and the United States. In other words, these are not problems of direct concern to Turkey, but, without any doubt, in the long run these will a!so concern Turkey, or at least their effects will be felt by us.

It is remarkable that even the proposal made last year by Mr. Kissen-ger for a new Atlantic Declaration and for sharing the burden of NATO de­fenses, which interests Turkey highly, smells of the current frictions between the United States and developed countries, in fact, the idea of a new Atlantic Declaration aims at eliminating the poisonous effects of the current frictions by sharing the NATO defense burden with developed countries and treating NATO defense matters as a whole together with economic and monetary issues.

My purpose in pointing out some peculiarities of the situation is only to emphasize that due to our position, which is not in direct conflict with the United States, there would be very rare occasions on which we would find ourselves in a situation compelling us to take sides in the disputes between the two coasts of the Atlantic. By saying this I do not mean that we should stand aside. On the contrary, in many cases, particularly as regards the Kissinger proposal I mentioned above, we have always to be very active. There may even be a possibility for us to act as a mediator.

The frictions between some developed European powers or groups of powers should not lead us to a search of conscience by attempting to answer such questions as “whether we should prefer the United States to Europe or Europe to the United States”. The policy that suits Turkey’s in­terests best is the Atlantic policy, as a Europe without the United States or a United States without Europe will always represent for us a lame and crippled policy. Such a policy has two fields of application : one is NATO and the other our bilateral relations.

The policy which we have been following for many years now cannot be described otherwise. However, implementation of this policy has not been adequately fruitful due to a number of rather psychological comp­lexes on our part.

I wish to conclude my article by enumerating these complexes :

  • — We turn our backs to issues which are not or do not seem to be convenient to us; whereas we should be interested or should take part in a number of situations or issues which are inconvenient to us; their feared harmful effects can only be eliminated or alleviated in this manner, not by leaving the field free for others.
  • — From time to time we restrict or blunt our initiatives by asking such outdated and senseless questions as “East? or West?” as I men­tioned above.
  • — Both within NATO and within the field of our overall policy we are interested in a problem only if and when it has an aspect that would affect us in an immediate future, in many instances, with the resulting passivity we have practically made ourselves forgotten.
  • — In a number of cases we have turned our attention to an issue only after it has matured and become hard to change, and thus we have become constant complainers.

5 — Generally our policy remains at the «defensive» level; i.e., we have generally found it convenient to prevent ripening developments or state our objections and work on the initiatives of others without making counter proposals of our own for the solution of the problems at hand.

It is possible for us to keep in step with the tempo of Western dip­lomacy, which is in continuous development, through a number of confer­ences, proposals, counter proposals, and official as well as unofficial contacts and communications, because we have enough men to succeed in this type of work if used properly.

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