ISTANBUL — Many o the develop-ments that shake the world happenaround Turkey. Iraq, Iran, and Georgiaall neighbor Turkey and Ankara’sengagement with these countries ismultiaceted. As a direct connectionor the transatlantic alliance to thesetroubled regions, Turkey’s views,choices, and direction are important orWestern strategy and security.Both the Turkish state and the nationeel the direct and indirect eects o political and military developmentsin regions surrounding the country.The public’s outlook on internationalaairs is thus shaped. Similarly thepublic’s assessment o the country’salliance relations relects theserealities. Whether or not Turkey receives the respect, consideration,and understanding rom its allies helporm the public’s vision o transat-lantic relations. Turkey is also in theunique position o being a secular,democratic country with a majority Muslim population that has beeninstitutionally a member o thetransatlantic alliance or over ivedecades. Furthermore, the country isengaged in accession negotiations withthe European Union.Given how recent geopolitical develop-ments and Turkey’s own constructiveengagement in its neighborhoods (thelast such move being the visit by theTurkish President to Armenia ostensi-bly to watch the soccer game betweenthe two national teams) raised Turkey’sproile in international relations, theviews o the Turkish public on thetransatlantic alliance are morepertinent than ever.In that sense
, apublic opinion survey published by theGerman Marshall Fund o the UnitedStates, oers a number o importantindings about Turkey’s sense o itsel and how it views and evaluates itsallies. Perhaps the two most importantindings o the survey, similar to earlierones, are that the Turks see their coun-try as a “lone wol” and more alarming-ly, consider themselves non-Western.A Turkish diplomat, Bulent Nuri Eren,once said that “Turkey is a lone wol without instinctive riends or allies.”To prove him right, the Turks do nothave much sympathy or almost any other people or country. According to
on a 100-pointthermometer scale reading o “Turkisheelings toward others,” Turkey scores80 degrees (so the Turks like themselvesas a nation despite their endless inter-necine conlicts and ights) with thesecond ranking held by the Palestiniansat 44 degrees. The rest o the countriessurveyed score less than 33 degrees.
Will Turkey Opt Out?
by Soli Ozel*
Soli Ozel teaches at Istanbul Bilgi University’s Department of International Relations and Political Science and is a columnist for theTurkish daily
. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the GermanMarshall Fund of the United States (GMF).
Summary: Many of the develop-ments that shake the world happenaround Turkey, most notably Iraq,Iran, and Georgia. Both the Turkishstate and nation feel the effects of political and military developmentsin the regions surrounding thecountry and the importance of the transatlantic alliance will be furtherhighlighted through Turkey. Americaand the European Union wouldbe well advised to treat Turkey asa valued member of the allianceand communicate to the Turkishpublic their intentions and policiesin a more direct and constructivefashion.