What will happen if Turkey moves away from the NATO?

Turkey plays a critical role in the organization thanks to its contributions to NATO, of which it has been a member for 69 years. Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO in terms of the number of military personnel, is also in the top 10 in defense expenditures and burden sharing.

The NATO Summit held in Brussels on Monday was very important both in terms of its effects on the international political system, Turkey's place in NATO and the future of Turkish-American relations.

The perceptions of the leading Western countries of NATO, especially the USA, regarding the role of China and Russia in the international power struggle were closely related to Turkey's relations with these countries and therefore its role in NATO.

The importance of Turkey for NATO was reiterated at the Summit. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Turkey for hosting Syrian refugees and stated that they would help in taking necessary measures in terms of border security.

On the other hand, Stoltenberg said that Turkey plays a key role in the operation of Kabul Airport in Afghanistan.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that Turkey's borders are also NATO's borders and said, "In this respect, we know that we undertake an important responsibility not only for our own national interests but also for the security and stability of the transatlantic geography, and we take our steps with this awareness."

Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said, “As Turkey, our belief is that NATO maintains its reason for existence and NATO's importance is gradually increasing.”


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, in short, was established in 1949 by 12 founding members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, England, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States.

Turkey joined NATO on February 18, 1952, which was established in 1949 with the North Atlantic Treaty, in the new political and military order formed after the Second World War.

After the ratification of the membership of Turkey and Greece in 1952, the organization continued to expand. With North Macedonia's entry into NATO in 2020, the number of member states rose to 30.

Turkey plays a critical role in the organization thanks to its contributions to NATO, of which it has been a member for 69 years. Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO in terms of the number of military personnel, is also in the top 10 in defense expenditures and burden sharing.


Turkey has been one of the allies that has made the most comprehensive contribution to NATO's command and force structure to date.

Turkey hosts the NATO Land Command (LANDCOM), which is part of the Alliance's command structure. In addition, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Headquarters, one of nine High Readiness Level ground force headquarters in the NATO Force Structure, was provided by Turkey.

As part of NATO's Ballistic Missile Defense architecture, Turkey also hosts the detection and tracking radar located in Kürecik.

In addition, the NATO Counter-Terrorism Center of Excellence, the Partnership for Peace Training Center and the Multinational Maritime Security Center of Excellence are located in Turkey.


Turkey continues to make sustainable and comprehensive contributions to NATO missions and operations. In this sense, Turkey is among the top five allies that contribute the most to NATO operations.

Among these contributions, in addition to being a "Frame Country" in Kabul as part of its Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, Turkey has assumed the security and operational responsibility of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Turkey, which has troops in Kosovo as part of the KFOR Operation, has provided a permanent naval element to the NATO activity, which was initiated to support international efforts to prevent irregular crossings in the Aegean Sea with reconnaissance, surveillance and inspections.

Turkey provided military trainer-advisor contribution to NATO Iraq Mission. Turkey is ready to contribute more to the Iraq mission, which is expected to be expanded at the NATO Defense Ministers Meeting on February 17-18.

Turkey, which provides air refueling support to the flights of NATO AWACS aircraft carried out in the airspace within the scope of the International Coalition Against Terrorist Organization DAESH, has provided aerial refueling support to the flights of NATO AWACS aircraft within the scope of the advanced presence and assurance measures carried out for the Eastern European members of the Alliance, as well as the national AWACS. He also supported the efforts with his planes.

Turkey also aims to continue its previous contributions to air policing in the Baltic region.

Konya Air Base was made available to NATO AWACS aircraft as one of the two forward operations bases of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Warning Force, making permanent contributions to the NATO Permanent Naval Forces Second Group and NATO's Permanent Mine Countermeasure Forces Second Group.

Turkey was one of the countries that supported the joint funds of NATO the most. Turkey, which is the eighth country that contributed the most to these funds, is the ally that contributed the most to the Sea Guard Operation in the Mediterranean.


Turkey also supported the enlargement process of NATO, also known as the "Open Door Policy".

Turkey played a leading role in the development of relations between NATO and the alliance's partners in the Balkans, the Caucasus and North Africa and the Middle East, and in the implementation of NATO's Open Door Policy.

Seeing the enlargement of the Alliance as a strategic tool for the spread of stability and security, Turkey especially advocated the integration of the Balkans with Euro-Atlantic institutions. In this context, the activation of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Membership Action Plan and the membership of North Macedonia, which joined the Alliance in 2020, were strongly supported.

Turkey assumed command of the ground elements of the Joint Very High Readiness Force (VJTF) within NATO for one year on January 1, 2021.

In the VJTF, part of the NATO Response Force, approximately 4,200 soldiers from the 66th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Command, as well as military from Albania, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, the UK and the USA 6,400 military personnel are assigned with the participation of the units.


Turkey, which is of great importance for NATO in terms of its strategic geographical location, also contributes to NATO missions in different parts of the world.

Turkey was among the first three countries, especially in NATO's post-Cold War out-of-area operations and especially in Afghanistan, one of the most important of these operations. There was a similar situation in the KFOR operation in Kosovo.

Geographically, Turkey is located in the most strategically important region of the world. Being the only NATO member country neighboring the Middle East and bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran, it is also close to Lebanon and Israel. Turkey also controls the Bosphorus, the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Dardanelles, between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea connected to the Mediterranean. Turkey's military strength and geostrategic location are vitally important, as it borders Russia in the Black Sea, making the country a key player for NATO against Russia.

Ankara's contributions to the alliance are numerous. In 1999, he participated in Operation Allied Forces against Serbia. NATO supported the Baltic States with air patrols. The Turkish army joined NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo. And Turkey is the only country among NATO countries fighting against DAESH on land.

Therefore, Turkey's membership is crucial to NATO, as it plays a vital role in countering threats from the east and south, putting pressure on Russia, and protecting Europe. This remains the case, despite the fact that NATO members have repeatedly failed to help Turkey when its security is at stake and are committed to defending each other against threats.