Turkey's partnership with NATO has been immensely beneficial to NATO.

Turkey, which has made significant contributions to NATO, the most powerful military alliance in the international field, will be completing its 68th year in the Alliance next week. For 68 years, Turkey has continued to be one of the most powerful and influential members of NATO, its influence as the second-largest army in NATO is bolstered by its geostrategic positions and contributions to the Alliance.

Founded in response to the expansionist policies of the Soviet Union, NATO was expected to contribute to the security of Turkey significantly. Turkey's involvement in the Korean War on the side of the UN was considered as the country's confirmation of its orientation towards the West. 

NATO was established by the Washington Treaty, by twelve founder members in 1949, and Turkey joined soon afterwards, as the thirteenth member in 1952. 

The protocol for NATO accession was signed on October 17, 1951, and Turkey became an official member of the Alliance on February 18, 1952, along with Greece.

Turkey's recent balancing of its relationships with both the West and the East, and its balancing of mutual interests with neighbouring countries, have worried some members of NATO. Indeed, Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400's has triggered debates as to whether Turkey should be expelled from NATO.

Turkey has stated that it could take care of itself if its NATO allies do not provide support against security threats. In addition to that, the NATO Secretary-General backed Turkey by saying that Turkey was free to buy whatever it deemed necessary for its security and that Turkey's contributions to NATO and the cooperation between NATO and Turkey were more critical than the S-400 issue.

Can Turkey be expelled from NATO?

Technically, according to NATO regulations, Turkey cannot be expelled from NATO. While Article 13 of the treaty states that a country can apply to leave on its own will, nothing indicates that a country can be expelled.

Portugal was not invited to NATO's activities in 1974-1975, following a military coup in 1974. That is to say, there can be sanctions against members, specifically, but there can be no expulsion.

As it may be remembered, Turkish President Erdogan and President Trump were the ones who first reacted to French President Emmanuel Macron's statement that NATO had become brain-dead. In particular, Turkey's support of NATO and its messages need to attract more attention.

With the second-largest army in NATO after the USA and a critical geostrategic location, Turkey is among the countries that contribute most to the Common Funds of NATO. Turkey also provides to NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, multinational peacekeeping force KFOR in Kosovo, and training missions in Iraq. 

Turkey's other contributions include hosting the radar system within NATO's ballistic missile defence architecture at LANDCOM in Izmir as well as in Malatya Kurecik. NATO's Rapid Deployable Corps - one of nine NATO land forces headquarters with a high readiness level - is stationed in Istanbul. Also, Turkey is home to the Incirlik Air Base, which houses nuclear missiles.

Turkey supports Standing NATO Maritime Group's activities in the Black Sea, which is included within the framework of NATO obligations. Turkey provides air-to-air refuelling to the NATO AWACS planes operating in coordination with the Global Coalition Against Daesh.

Just as Turkey supported the recent membership of Northern Macedonia, it also supports the NATO memberships of Georgia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ankara is going to take the command of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2021.

Today, NATO allies continue to develop and grow in importance through mutual values, shared interests in security and stability in the region and beyond, fighting terrorism and extremism, and economic collaboration.

Both NATO and Turkey are better together. It was true in 1952, and it is still true 68 years later.

A NATO without Turkey and a Turkey without NATO is something that can never be considered.

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