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Other Putin on Europe's doorstep

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06.08.2020

By Mark Leonard

BERLIN ― Is Turkey the new Russia? That question is increasingly being asked in European capitals as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan adopts a more aggressive foreign policy.

In addition to using migration to threaten and finagle the European Union, Erdogan has also been deploying military power to expand Turkey's sphere of influence across the wider region.

Since the end of the Cold War, Europeans have viewed regional security through a unipolar Western lens. While NATO guaranteed military security, the EU ― with its 80,000-page rule-book for everything from LGBTQ rights to lawnmower sound ordinances ― provided legal order. Back in the 1990s, it was widely assumed that the two big non-Western regional players, Russia and Turkey, would gradually be accommodated to this arrangement.

But over the last 15 years, the dream of European unipolarity has given way to a multipolar reality. Both Russia and Turkey have had a long, tortured love-hate relationship with Europe, and both have grown more assertive under national leaders who share a disdain for EU norms and values.

The breakdown of the EU-Russia relationship is well documented; the Turkish story less so. The Iraq War in 2003 complicated Turkey's relationship with NATO, and its relationship with the EU took a turn for the worse in 2007, when France blocked a key part of its EU accession negotiations. Turkey has since been forging its own path in Syria, the Balkans, and Libya, as........

© The Korea Times


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