Global Insights: Turkey’s Geopolitical Maneuvering Pays Dividend

Global Insights: Turkey’s Geopolitical Maneuvering Pays Dividend

In recent weeks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials have threatened to abandon decades of effort to join the European Union (EU) and instead seek membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Their remarks should not have been so surprising, since Ankara has become increasingly skillful at leveraging Turkey’s new ties with its eastern partners to gain advantages in the West.

In addition to reflecting a genuine concern about Turkey’s perceived mistreatment by the EU and an effort to gain easy popularity with domestic constituents by attacking an unpopular target, Erdogan and other Turkish leaders see cooperating more with the SCO as an enticing option. Ankara would like to deepen its economic ties with Russia and China, in particular, as well as participate in many SCO initiatives. Furthermore, Turkey’s leverage with Europe, the United States and other partners would also rise through a deeper affiliation with the SCO.

Since coming to power more than a decade ago, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has used the EU entry requirements as a justification and catalyst to promote economic and political reforms at home that have also served to strengthen Turkey’s economy and weaken the Turkish military’s role in domestic politics. Polls show that Turkey’s EU membership drive continues to enjoy strong support among the country’s elite despite falling popular support for membership.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.