Turkey referendum: What’s next for Turkey-NATO, Turkey-EU relations?

What kind of impact from the referendum do you expect on the NATO-Turkey, EU-Turkey relations? Read few comments.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO. Credit: http://www.tccb.gov.tr/

David Romano, Professor, Department of Political Science, Missouri State University

Although the EU seems to care more about democratic norms than the current American administration, they too primarily follow their interests. But the U.S. and the EU (and hence NATO) seem to have increasingly divergent interests with Erdogan’s Turkey, and patience with Turkey seems to be running low in Western capitals. Accession of Turkey to the EU now looks like an impossible farce, and EU funding to Turkey for a variety of accession programs will likely run dry soon. As regards NATO, the alliance has no mechanism in place for expelling members, but other NATO states will likely try to find ways to not rely upon or work with Ankara nearly as much as they used to.

Burak Kadercan*, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Policy, Naval War College

On NATO; not much all by itself. A lot depends on what happens in Syria, vis-a-vis “who will take Raqqa.” EU: Erdogan will further push Turkey away from the EU.

* These views do not reflect those of the Naval War College, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Selim SazakPh.D. Student, Brown University

There’s no way this doesn’t bear on Turkey’s relations with NATO and EU. Turkey is NATO’s second-largest army, its only Muslim-majority member, and is just publicly berated by OSCE for basically election rigging. What do you in the face of that? Stay silent or come out in force? That’s a tough choice for NATO. Same for EU: Turkey is one of its largest trading partners, a next door neighbor, and one that EU heavily relies on many issues from Syrian refugee crisis to defense cooperation. If Turkey falls into widespread political unrest, how’s that gonna work out?

If Rasmussen or Juncker is not losing sleep tonight, it’s not because they shouldn’t but it’s only because they don’t even realize what the beast they’re looking at. This is potentially the beginning of the Putinization of Turkey: a country that was almost going to be an EU member and is the world’s 17th-largest economy. No way this ends well, for Turks or for anyone else (except Erdogan and his cronies, perhaps, but even that is doubtful).

Michael Wuthrich, Assistant Director,  Center for Global & International Studies, University of Kansas

I think Turkey’s relationships with European countries, and the EU will likely be very strained if not broken, especially if they reinstate capital punishment. I think Erdogan partially wants to do this to make the break with Europe official as he feels personally offended by their treatment of him. In this regard, the future is very bleak for Turkey-EU relations as the statement by the German foreign minister today makes clear. I expect that Turkey-US relations under Trump will actually continue as Trump is not put off by Erdogan’s behaviors as much as European leaders are. This might help keep Turkey within the fold of NATO as Turkey’s military expenditures make it one of the “dues paying” members. Trump has had his own criticism of NATO, but he is unlikely to be able to completely abandon it, and he is unlikely to be one to push or instigate Turkey to leave the organization.

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