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Teetering on the Brink: Turkey's Troubled Ties with the West


For over a decade now, scholars and practitioners in Turkey, Europe, and the United States have denounced and despaired about Turkey’s estrangement from the West. From the progressive disenchantment with Turkey’s process of EU accession to Ankara’s increasingly uncomfortable position within NATO, the growing empathy between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to the open insults between the former and French President Emmanuel Macron, Turkey’s relations with the West have been teetering on the brink of a precipice for some time. Yet, every time they dangerously approach the point of no return, either one party or both take a step back. This article briefly recounts the vicious circle in which Turkish-West relations have been trapped for over a decade, as well as the reasons why a complete rupture in relations is unlikely. It does so to look ahead at the prospects for the relationship with an eye to reversing the vicious circle the parties are trapped in, as well as inducing positive transformation in Turkey itself.