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Turkey’s Foreign Relations

Turkey has a global diplomatic network of 246 diplomatic and consular missions, separated into two continents. The country has a Muslim majority with centuries of institutional westernization experience, secular heritage, and institutional connections to the West, playing a significant role in bridging the lines between the Western and Islamic countries.

The Soviet Union supplied weapons and finances to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during the Turkish War of Independence, but Turkey followed a course of international isolation during Ataturk’s Reforms between 1920 and 1930. Turkey got full control of the strategic strait, linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean through the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 and the Montreux Convention of 1936.

Since the modern republic, Turkey’s foreign policy has been dominated by the western orientation. During the Cold War, Turkey’s most important ally was the United States, who also shared Turkey’s interest in containing the Soviet expansion. Besides, Turkey provided personnel to the UN Forces during the Korean War.

Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and formed the southern wing of NATO against Soviet Russia. Plus, the country recognized Israel and worked with it very closely in 1948. NATO bases are in Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Adana and Diyarbakir.

Turkey’s membership in the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE, and G-20 are important international links considering its critical geopolitical position. It is one of the most functional industrial countries at the G-20 summit.

Interest and demand in Turkey have increased thanks to the regional power with remarkable facilities across national borders. With accession negotiations with the European Union, signed in 2005, Turkey’s relations with the European Union have progressed through three basics. These are; implementation of the Copenhagen Criteria, the EU acquis, and strengthening civil society dialogue.

Turkey’s full membership in the European Union is still under negotiations. Turkey’s company law, enterprise, and industrial policy, science, and research acquis have become compatible with the EU acquis. And Turkish citizens can travel to European Union countries without a visa if they meet the required criteria. Turkey ranks in 2nd place for being NATO’s most powerful country, leaving behind countries, such as Germany, Italy, Canada, and Spain.

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