Foreign Relations of the Turkey Government
Every since the fall of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, the Republic of Turkey has entered the community of modern nations as a free market democracy with a representative parliamentary government and a constitution that defines no state religion despite having a 97% Muslim population. As a secular country, freedom of religions is also upheld. The country is now the 15th largest economy in the world with $800 billion in GDP and is ranked 65th in terms of per capita which stands at $12,400 per citizen.
West-bound Foreign Affairs
The Turkey government’s western-inspired political reforms and state policies have shaped the conduct of its foreign affairs since the republic was founded in 1923. It is a founding member of the UN after WWII and became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2008. It was among the countries that founded the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD in 1961 along with France and 33 other member countries. In 1999, the country became a member of the G20 organization of 20 major world economies considering its 15th place ranking.
Making Bed with Europe
The Turkey government has always looked to Europe as its prime economic and political bedfellow. After founding the Council of Europe in 1949, it applied as an associate member in the Eastern European Council which was the predecessor of the modern EU and got the part in 1963. After years of political wrangling, Turkey also became an associate member of the Western European Union in 1992.
It was in 1995 when the Turkey government was able to get a Customs Union Agreement with the modern EU which allowed the flow of most commercial goods between the country and EU states without customs restrictions, except agricultural goods and public services. This is the first major step towards its application to gain full ascension to the EU.
There have been controversies on its becoming a full pledged member of the EU which the Turkey government applied for in October 2005. If ever it becomes one, Turkey would be the first Muslim state in the EU. But of all the Muslim countries in the world, Turkey can be said to be the “least” Islamic. In manners of clothing and culture, the Eurasian country is the most western and any visitor would not guess the country is one if not for those domed mosques that litter the country.