This paper aims to provide a critical assessment of the rhetoric used by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) towards the United States and the NATO. In addition, the analysis aims to shed light on Turkish public opinion polls reflecting views about Turkey's alliance with the West. The ultimate goal is to compare and contrast the rhetoric employed by the AKP vis-à-vis Turkey's NATO membership and the decisions that it has actually taken in that capacity.
There seems to be a correlation between the quite-often used negative rhetoric of the current government and the public opinion towards the United States and the NATO. Nevertheless, these trends are at odds with the major decisions that the AKP government has undertaken recently, namely placing a NATO radar in eastern Turkey or contributing to major NATO operations such as in Libya and Afghanistan. This paper will also look into other Western, non-NATO-led diplomatic and international initiatives to complement the analysis.
Yurter Ozcan is the president of the Turkish Policy Center in Washington DC.