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Leonid Bershidsky

Turkey's Troubled NATO Status

Erdogan's nation faces a growing number of conflicts within the military bloc
A flag of convenience?
Photographer: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

The heated campaign for the April 16 Turkish referendum, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes will deliver him powers verging on the dictatorial, has created a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and some of its key North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. Relations with the Netherlands are all but broken off, Germany is struggling to remain civil under a barrage of Erdogan insults, and Denmark is siding with its north European neighbors.

Add to this Turkey's differences with the U.S. and the perennial tension between Turkey and Greece, and it's no longer clear how much of a NATO member Erdogan's country really is. Despite its considerable military strength, Turkey's participation in alliance activities isn't extensive, and its interests don't necessarily align with those of NATO.