Ankara’s assertive foreign policy choices delight many at home. But they can puzzle and anger its counterparts as Turkey experiments with increasingly militarised postures in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the South Caucasus, and the ongoing wars in Libya and Syria.
Ambassador Selim Yenel, Turkish ambassador to the EU until 2017 and now president of the Istanbul-based think-tank Global Relations Forum, joins Olga and Hugh to help make sense of what is driving Ankara in a changing world. Together they dive into the making of regional power, the costs of undercutting dialogue with hard-power moves, the imperative of undergoing reforms at home, and what can be done to revive Turkey’s EU accession process.
Arguing that Turkey’s recent shifts have been more reactive than proactive, Ambassador Yenel urges all sides to cool down rhetoric and calls for a return to more empathetic diplomacy. Even if NATO member Ankara has made mistakes – for instance in the purchase of S-400 ground-to-air missiles from Russia – he says others have too, and thus Turkey deserves to be met halfway.