Turkish Diplomatic Relations with the Western World Increasingly Tense

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Turkish diplomatic relations

Turkish diplomatic relations are becoming increasingly tense. Two months after the failed coup attempt, the effects of this incident are starting to be noticed on an international level.

The coup attempt involved bombing various locations, bringing out tanks on the street. The rebel military group narrowly failed to kidnap the president.

Following the attempt, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been demanding that the US extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in rural Pennsylvania. Turkish officials are almost certain he was the one behind the coup attempt.

Up until this point, the US has denied Turkey’s request. Needless to say, this had put some strain on Turkish diplomatic relations with the US. The Department of Justice argued that they needed solid evidence Gulen was the mastermind behind the attacks before they could turn him over to Turkish authorities. Earlier in August, Vice-President Joe Biden visited Turkey to discuss this issue, among other things.

Now, nearly two months after the failed coup, Turkish authorities claim they’ve finally found the evidence they needed. But if the Department of Justice decides the evidence is not enough, or if the process of extradition will take too long, this might very well damage the already shaky diplomatic relations with Turkey.

Turkey has already angered many of its NATO allies for its conduct in Syria. While Turkey is just as committed to defeating ISIS as its NATO allies, the country also has a different agenda to settle.

Turkish Diplomatic Relations with Western Countries Sour

Specifically, they are targeting the Kurdish army in Syria as well. The Kurds and the Americans are allies, however, in the war against ISIS. Time and again, the Kurdish have proven to invaluable in the fight against Islamic extremists.

Even though the US has criticized Turkey for its actions against the Kurds, Turkish officials have refused to back down on their decisions. This creates a very tense situation for all the countries involved.

On the other hand, the Turkish government is itself furious with the Western world. They believe they have not reacted as promptly following the failed coup attempt. Erdogan believes its NATO allies did not take it seriously.

Following the insurrection, Erdogan imposed a series of drastic measures in response to the attack. He purged all levels of government, firing anyone who was believed to be involved with the rebel group behind the attack. He has also fired scholars and academics for the same reasons. Erdogan has also imposed censorship measures on all Turkish media outlets.

Following these decisions, Western countries became increasingly critical of what they believed were a series of human rights violations. These complaints further damaged Turkish diplomatic relations with the Western world.

Most likely, these accusations will factor into the US decision as to whether or not they will extradite Gulen. The alliance between Turkey and the rest of the Western world depends a lot on how they decide to handle this process.

Turkey is instrumental in the fight against Islamic extremists. The country’s position is of strategic importance. It’s at the border between NATO and the ISIS controlled territories. As such, they are in any way a dispensable ally for the Western world.

Image Source: Flickr

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