Not only for today but also for modern history, NATO is a well-known and long lasting alliance which is originated from Cold War part of history. Most renowned aspect of the treaty is namely the article 5, which provides common self-defense in case of an attack towards European territory against Soviet Union. European Union has also been established as a prevention for Germanisation and Frenchization of Europe meanwhile defending it from the Cultural and Economic threats that can come from the Soviet Union. When the main outline of wars that took place in the European Continent is examined, a need for an international organization arisen to prevent wars that created turmoil for the continent throughout the history. Both NATO and EU were established in same era and they have been formed around similar concerns. Additionally, similar with the past, today NATO is a military organization which has a dominance within the non-EU member states. Also the existence of the BREXIT process riveted the dominance of non-EU member states within NATO.
In the post-Cold War era, EU had changed its security concept by making changes in the European Security and Defence Policy. Basis for these changes were build during the cold-war era as a result of the conflicts between Europeanists and Atlanticists within NATO. Also this conflict is taking place between two continental European power, Germany and France. Without these two significant actor and their harmonious relations nothing can happen within the scope of European Security. Additionally, history shows us there are lots of conflict of interest between these two actors. During the cold war Germany handed over their security management to the USA. However, France with the administration led by Charles de Gaulle identified themselves as a great European power by forgetting their recent military defeat against Nazi Germany during WWII. This courage is the main reason for the resignation of France from treaty during Cold War. It is easy to understand that France’s general and fixed perception about treaty is continuing in a hidden way in Macron’s “braindead” statement about treaty.
During the post-cold war period, there was an expansion of both EU and NATO. As a result, a NATO centered model of European security was accepted on overwhelming majority of European public opinion. With these expansions of EU and NATO; the borders of the Euro-Atlantic bloc have reached to the borders of Russian Federation. However, under these conditions, Russia was obligated to change their strategy since they do not have the conventional power they have in the Soviet era. As a result of the weak stance of Europe, Russia has been started to use Hybrid warfare strategies for gaining power against EU and NATO’s eastern expansion.
The construction of a European security system under NATO on the principle of such a balance of interests, which excludes use of force, is a mainstream idea in Europe for countering Russia. With the change of Russian Federation’s foreign policy doctrine during the second half of 1990’s, new topics appeared on European Security and Defence Policy. At first, change in Russia’s foreign policy doctrine received positive remarks from the Europe. But, with the newly developing tensions against Russia, Europe started to discuss the idea of European Security concept with the proposal of a European Army.
Crisis of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea have increased the concerns among the NATO and EU member ex-Soviet states. The meaning of this geopolitical game turned into a one which aims to determine the safe distance to keep Russia as away from Europe as possible. Russian threat for Europe realized in refugee crisis which took place in Poland Belarus border and military build-up near Ukrainian border.
Another big challenge for European Union is energy security, because countries such as Libya, Iraq and Syria which provide energy to Europe are in an unstable political situation. Second and current source of this challenge is coming from transit country Ukraine for these resources. All these facts destabilize European Union’s external environment. NATO is playing meaningful role in contradictions with Russia for all of these problematic regions on ensuring European energy security.
Next front of Russia against Europe will show itself nearer than Ukraine, probably in Balkans. Russia gets courage from Europe’s non-effective stance in Balkan wars during resolution of Yugoslavia. Instabilities and civil wars in Balkans and European Union’s position during this period stand as an evidence for the fact that the European Army proposal is not a realistic one. Europe watched the Serbian’s massacre against Bosnian Muslims.
With Brexit, EU lost one of its nuclear capable member, if they have still got dream for establishing an autonomous European Army. Departure of UK affected psychological connection between UK and other European Countries. This divorce showed itself in pacific region with signing of AUKUS between Australia, UK and USA. With signing of this agreement, France lose big deal as leading position in defending autonomous European Security Organization.
As a conclusion, current examples shows that EU does not have an organized security capability without the existence of NATO. Number of non-EU members of NATO is another solid reason for saying that. Current Russian threat and inadequate response of EU stands as a support for NATO and lack of possibility for autonomous European Army. Focusing on Russia’s hybrid or direct threats shows that EU need NATO as in the Cold War Era. Additionally EU needs to expand the front against Russia to East. In this case, Turkey has a huge potential as NATO member and unendedly EU candidate country for reinforcing against Russia’s threats. Western European Countries experienced Turkey’s reinforcement’s during the Cold War era against Soviet expansion threat. However, western countries have to revise their perception of Turkey under these conditions.
Today, problematic situations stated above can’t be solved without taking Turkey’s role and potential into consideration. In both regional security problems Turkey is the corner stone for solution with geopolitics, experience and bilateral relations with countries the EU has security problems. However, Europe and other western countries have to reconsider Turkey’s new position in 21st century. Turkey is not the same bandwagoning country, like it was in the start of his NATO membership. Under these developments both EU and NATO have to reconsider Turkey’s position as NATO member country and regional balance of power.
TURK MAGS RESEARCHER