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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS: Turkish foreign policy, the East-West divide

Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims:Current events of international importance, NATO, Paris agreement etc
  • Mains GS Paper II:Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India or affecting India’s interests etc



  • Turkey is at the center of regional diplomacy amid the Russia-Ukraine war.



Turkish Ideology:

  • The origin of the ideology of pan-Turkism dates back to the mid-19th century when campaigns for uniting Turkic people in Russia gained traction.
  • Its geographic scope eventually became much wider, covering the huge spread of Turkic people from the “Balkans to the Great Wall of China.
  • However,in the 20th century, the decline of Turkey began with the integration of Turkic people into other states.


Steps by President Erdogan to re-establish relations:

  • He has rebuilt bridges with Israel: Meeting its Prime Minister on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and pledging to cooperate on shared security and energy interests.
  • Engagement with Syria:Indicated Turkey’s readiness to engage with Syrian President


Stand on NATO members:

  • NATO: It retains its tough posture on Sweden’s membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • Confrontation: Maintains its confrontation with fellow NATO member, Greece.


Issues faced by Turkey:

  • Turkey is concerned about expanding ties between Greece and the United States: The deployment of U.S. military supplies on islands in the Aegean that are close to Turkey, in violation of several agreements, including Lausanne (1923)and Paris (1947).
  • Cyprus and the East Mediterranean: The U.S. removed restrictions on defense supplies to Cyprus in response denying refueling and repair facilities to Russian naval vessels.


Stand of Turkey:

  • Turkey concluded an energy agreement with the Tripoli-based Libyan government: For joint exploration of hydrocarbon resources in the East Mediterranean.
  • It is the only NATO member, which can engage with Russia and mediate in the Ukraine war.
  • Grain agreement: Turkey successfully negotiated the grain agreement with Russia and Ukraine.


Russian-Turkish ties:

  • Important differences on:
    • Armenia, Syria, Libya and the East Mediterranean.
  • Significant Russian investments and financial transfers to Turkish banks: including a $15 billion transfer from Russia’s nuclear company, to its Turkish partner.
  • Turkey’s exports to Russia: It has increased 75% over the last year.
  • It has emerged as a major importer of Russian energy:The Russian President has reciprocated by proposing that Turkey become a hub for supplies of Russian gas to Europe.
  • Turkey has indicated its interest in membership of the SCO:In response to criticisms that this is an anti-West grouping.


Current Issues:

  • Serious economic crises:with inflation well over 80%.
  • Hostility and confrontation: Anti-Kurdish hostility and confrontations with Greece.



Way Forward

  • Global level: Erdoğan has positioned Turkey at the center of the East-West divide, reaping benefits from both sides, but fully committing to neither of them.
  • Turkey’s military posture vis-à-vis the Kurds in Syria and Iraq: while maintaining links with the governments in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Arbil.
  • Turkey has nurtured ties: with Turkmen and Islamist groups, to the chagrin of Russia and Iran.
  • Erdoğan foreign policy: It reflects the usage of politics and geopolitics, mixed with strong elements of Ottoman glory.




  1. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. what importance does it hold for India(UPSC 2021)

(250 WORDS, 15 MARKS)