The impacts of Turkey's response to proliferation threats in the Middle East on its integration with Europe
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After the declaration of its candidacy in 1999, Turkey’s relations with the European Union (EU) assumed a new course, which requires undertaking certain reforms to fulfill the EU accession criteria in order to start accession talks. Now that Turkey’s primary task is meeting these criteria, there is a high expectation that Turkey should do its best to start these talks as early as possible. However, the issues that started to occupy Turkey’s external security agenda in the post-Cold War period are likely to constitute important stumbling blocks in Turkey’s integration with the EU. Turkey is under a real threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems from its neighbors in the Middle East. Turkey’s initial response to the proliferation was to consider involvement in missile defense systems, and to produce its own capability that addressed the threat directly. Experts foresee that these two processes pull Turkish policymaking in different directions and result in a paradox. This thesis is an attempt to find a way to get out of this paradox by addressing needs and interests and to lead Turkey to converge towards satisfying the EU while at the same time upholding its own security interests. To that end, the thesis basically proposes a national nonproliferation strategy that involves all the interested actors of Turkish security and foreign policy making and relevant institutions. It argues that viable strategic political decisions can be a way out of the paradox between Turkey’s security policy and its relations with Europe.