In Ankara’s growing kerfuffle of politics, the chief paradox is this: The more President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consolidates power around his person and constructs a regime in his orbit, the more unstable foreign policy becomes. There seems to be wide international consensus about this.
The president’s unpredictable behaviour has reached, since before the German elections in September, such a worrisome level that some commentators – like Marc Pierini of Carnegie Europe or Steven Cook of Council of Foreign Relations in Washington – now talk about the ‘roguery’ of Turkey toward its Western allies.
The reason is obvious, within this paradox of power: Almost all of the components of Turkey’s domestic and international policy are being defined, presented and implemented on the basis of Erdoğan’s own, and not Turkey’s national interests. In the face of a flood of allegations of corruption and breaches of international law, Turkey’s strong man is in trouble, and has known it all along.