The minimum you must know

Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance. Therefore, it has a mutual protection treaty with the United States and most of Europe. Turkey is also being considered for European Union membership, which it may very well receive. Yet Turkey has successfully developed great relations with countries that the United States and Europe traditionally view as adversaries, including Iran and Russia, after years of successful diplomacy and countless successful peace talks. Historically Turkey has had a disagreement with Cyprus over ownership and governance of land there. And perhaps Turkey can improve upon its already peaceful relations with Israel. However, Turkey is currently at peace and has amicable relations with virtually every nation in the world.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

President of the

Republic of Türkiye

(United Nations 78th Session)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a tremendously talented leader and diplomat. Turkey had to unexpectedly burden an exodus of people from neighboring Iraq and Syria over the past two decades, and therefore dealt with an unfair share of arriving foreign gangs and refugees. (Perhaps some Syrians settled as "Turkish nationals" in nearby Cyprus, creating an incorrect impression in Cyprus of Turkey. There’s every reason for all of the governments to have improving relations.)

Many Syrian refugees in Turkey lost everything when NATO sanctioned the Syrian banking system. So a culture of sharing and helpfulness developed among Syrians who departed for Turkey that doesn’t exist in many other countries. People had to help each other just to get by. People won’t take from each other there without permission as a matter of moral decency. And you can sense hurt emotions from the facial expressions of people there when the possibility appears in the media. Antique stores are very beautiful there because they’re filled with prized possessions people gave away to support themselves. Syrians there are understandably a little more careful with what they do have than in many other cultures.

Turkey has remained very vibrant and successful under President Erdoğan's leadership in spite of these considerable challenges because he led one of the most significant humanitarian efforts in the past century to house, cloth and feed refugees. He also led one of the most complicated diplomatic efforts of all time tremendously successfully. Turkey is an extraordinary country to visit because of the incredible people there. Turkey is currently at peace with all states.

Europe has its own refugee burden now and its own needs to prioritize. But Europe may want to continue to contribute economically to Turkey's humanitarian efforts, to prevent further refugee migration into the E.U. membership of states. Europe should prefer prosperity for all countries in the area for the same reason.