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Aamodt and Haugom: Tilting towards Russia but anchored in NATO. Turkey’s foreign policy activism and its implications

Turkey strengthened ties with Russia after the military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, triggering widespread concerns that Ankara is ‘drifting away’ from NATO.

In this article, we argue that although a rapprochement has taken place, there is no Turkish realignment with Russia. Furthermore, an exit from NATO is regarded as unlikely. However, with its pursuit of greater strategic autonomy, Ankara risks marginalisation within NATO and could become a second-tier member of the alliance. 


  • Turkey’s tilt towards Russia is mainly related to the Syrian civil war, and to Erdogan’s domestic power consolidation. In the longer term, geopolitical realities suggest that a strategic alignment between Turkey and Russia will be difficult to sustain.
  • The Turkish-Russian partnership also reflects Turkey’s quest for greater strategic autonomy.
  • Turkey is however firmly anchored in NATO for reasons of national prestige, international influence and security, but risks marginalisation within the alliance.

Publisert 25. juni 2019 08:57.. Sist oppdatert 1. juli 2019 13:20.