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Downing of Russian jet forces Ankara to turn West

Experts argue that although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is getting support from NATO and the European Union, he can never be part of the West because his Islamist outlook prevents him from adopting Western values.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry alongside NATO ministerial meetings at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX1WORT

It is no secret that Turkey’s ties with the United States and Europe have been less than warm in recent years. Given his innate Islamist orientation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made his distaste for all things Western apparent since coming to power. The West, in turn, has viewed Erdogan with suspicion, based on his rejection of Western democratic and social values, and his barely veiled efforts to shift Turkey’s strategic focus toward the Islamic world.

The downing of the Russian Su-24 fighter jet by the Turkish air force and the unprecedented tensions this has caused between the two countries appear set now to change that. This incident has underscored Turkey’s reliance on NATO, despite the inbuilt distaste of Turkish Islamists for the alliance.

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