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ALM Special

Turkey Elections: Kilicdaroglu outreach to US, NATO hindered by Russia ties

Even if victory for the opposition reinvigorates Turkey’s relations with NATO, analysts say there’s no chance Ankara will break off ties with Russia.
Leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The emergence of a credible challenger to the two-decade rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised a glimmer of hope in Washington for a potential revival of a pro-NATO foreign policy in Ankara and a return to Turkey’s democratic norms.

The opposition coalition led by 74-year-old economist Kemal Kilicdaroglu has vowed to restore Turkey’s standing on the world stage in repudiation of Erdogan’s brash approach to the West and Turkey’s neighbors.

Kilicdaroglu’s camp has said that if elected, the new government will rejoin the US-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and push ahead on Washington’s planned $20 billion upgrade of Turkey’s F-16 fleet, all while re-engaging the European Union and furthering dialogue with Greece over the status of disputed islands in the Aegean.

An electoral win by the opposition would also likely mean an end to Erdogan’s trademark tactics of playing Russia and the West off each other in pursuit of modest gains.

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