Turkey’s Security Council Candidacy

Turkish FM Ali Babacan was in New York lobbying for Turkey’s candidacy for a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. There are a lot of compelling arguments in favor of it, and I think Sedat Laçiner, a Turkish foreign policy expert quoted by Today’s Zaman, sums them up pretty well:

“The number of Turkey’s friends is increasing. Countries that don’t love each other love Turkey,” Laçiner said, referring to ongoing Turkish mediation between Syria and Israel as an example of how enemy countries can both have good ties with Ankara. “Turkey has a special talent in this respect. The UN Security Council needs such a country, a country that can generate stability, make peace and boost UN influence.”

Another argument in its favor is that an eventual Turkish seat would correspond to the first two years of an incoming American presidential administration that, regardless of who heads it, will have a lot of diplomatic makeup work to do.

Now as much as I’ve become an admirer of Turkish foreing policy recently, I’m not naive about the country’s record, both domestically and abroad. But as its candidacy to the EU has demonstrated, Turkey has proven to be an encouraging test case for the influence of multilateralism on a country’s behavior. And this opinion piece that appeared last March in the Turkish Daily News, while critical of the government’s approach to its UNSC candidacy, suggests that it could ultimately have the same kind of impact on Turkey’s multilateral (as opposed to bilateral) good citizenship.

Ironically, at the same time that Turkey’s EU accession is hampered by fundamental identity questions of whether or not it is a “European” country, its membership in the UN’s informal Western European and Others Group could actually work against its Security Council candidacy, since the WEOG already has such a strong presence on the council. Granted, the group also includes Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but at some point, Europe is going to have to offer some of the benefits of membership, and not just the disadvantages, to continue to exercise its appeal on Turkey.

More World Politics Review