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Main Conflicts in Turkey's Foreign Policy

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Changing aspects of Turkish foreign policy have long attracted both national and international attention. Some of the most significant developments include the standstill in Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU); Turkey’s role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Turkey’s deteriorating relations with the United States in contrast to improved relations with Russia; Turkey’s political activism in conflict zones such as in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh; disagreements with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Greece, France, the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) and Israel relative to improved relations with some Balkan countries, Somalia, Azerbaijan, and Qatar.

This policy report, prepared through the Istanbul Political Research Institute (IstanPol), examines Turkish foreign policy by focusing on ongoing conflicts in which Turkey is involved. This report focuses specifically on conflicts relating to Libya, Syria, Iraq, Azerbaijan-Armenia, Ukraine, Greece, and Cyprus, since these have recently become more dynamic issues and will potentially preoccupy Turkey’s agenda in the short and medium term. For this purpose, the report aims to provide background information about these conflicts, briefly present the positions of the disputing parties, identify the main challenges for Turkey, and discuss Turkey’s relations with the relevant third parties.


We plan to regularly update this report and continue to discuss the conflicts in Turkish foreign policy as reflected in official policy and discourse. In future versions, we aim to examine other issues in the context of the same conflicts, new areas that may create problems for Turkish foreign policy, the ways domestic politics influences foreign policy, and differing opinions in Turkey on these conflicts. We plan to exceed conventional perspectives and analyze the humanitarian, environmental, and gender dimensions of these conflicts. Moreover, we anticipate that this report will lay the foundation for further in-depth research, analyses, and policy proposals for each of these key conflicts.


Please click here to access the policy paper.