Quest for Strategic Autonomy Continues, or How to Make Sense of Turkey's "New Wave"
This brief responds to a recent On Turkey brief by Ian O. Lesser, which had argued that Turkey’s “third wave” will be characterized by the search for strategic reassurance, mainly through Ankara’s greater reliance on Turkey’s traditional Western allies. Kardas rebuts that the quest for strategic autonomy of the past years still instructs Turkish leaders’ thinking on international affairs, and says this is unlikely to disappear. An analysis taking into account the role of political actors and personalities in the making of Turkey’s regional policies suggests that even in this current risk-prone security environment, which clearly led to Turkey revaluing partnership and coordinated actions with the West, the country will still cling to the pre-Arab world behavioral traits of self-confidence, assertiveness, and coolness towards the West. Turkey will not trade its strategic autonomy for reassurance and deterrence This will be so, at least as long as the AK Party’s currently unchallenged reign lasts.