Turkish Soft Balancing Against the EU? An Analysis of the Prospects for Improved Transatlantic Security Relations

Publication Title

Foreign Policy Analysis

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Politics, Philosophy, and Legal Studies


Turkey is increasingly criticized for obstructing communication and coordination between the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Using soft balancing theory and drawing on fieldwork and semistructured elite interviews conducted in Turkey, this article provides an in-depth analysis of Turkey’s foreign policy that leads to an impasse in NATO–EU coordination. It identifies three main reasons behind the Turkish foreign policy on the topic: (1) Turkey’s resentment for its exclusion from European security developments, (2) the uncertainties revolving around Turkey’s EU membership prospects and the subsequent lack of trust toward the EU, and (3) the unresolved Cyprus problem. This article concludes that the provision of a credible roadmap for Turkey’s EU membership and the resolution of the Cyprus conflict are central for breaking the NATO–EU security impasse, both of which seem unlikely in the short to medium run.


Original version is available from the publisher at: https://doi.org/10.1093/fpa/orw004



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