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When Did Turkey Join NATO: Answers to All of Your Questions 2023

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Curious about when did Turkey join NATO? Let’s jump in and answer all the questions!

If you’re confused about this topic, hopefully, this will help you understand a bit better what’s going on.

If you’re like me, the political world feels massive, and hard to understand it all. I had to do some research myself as I had no idea.

But now, I have gathered the information to make it easier for you!

This short article will give you a little bit of insight into Turkey and NATO’s history and maybe help you keep up in some conversations.

Let’s get to it!

What is NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, commonly referred to as NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 31 member countries from Europe and North America.

The organization was established in 1949 with the main goal of ensuring the collective defense of its members against potential security threats, specifically against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Since then, NATO’s role has evolved, but its fundamental purpose remains the same: to protect the security and freedom of its members through political and military means.

Turkey’s membership in NATO marked a significant moment in the Cold War and solidified its relationship with the Western world.

A Turkish flag next to a NATO flag

When did Türkİye join NATO?

Turkey joined NATO in February 1952, becoming the first Muslim-majority country to join the alliance.

At the time of Turkey’s admission, NATO had only been in existence for three years, having been founded in 1949 as a response to the perceived Soviet threat in Europe.

Turkey’s membership was seen as a major milestone in the development of the alliance and marked a significant moment in the Cold War.

Since joining, Turkey has remained an important NATO member, participating in various political and military operations and making significant contributions to the alliance’s collective defense efforts.

Why did Turkey join NATO?

Turkey joined NATO for a number of reasons. Firstly, Türkiye viewed its membership as a measure to protect its national security against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

At the time, the Soviet Union posed a great threat to countries in Europe and the Middle East, and Turkey saw NATO as a way to protect itself from any potential Soviet aggression.

Secondly, Turkey aimed to strengthen its relationship with the Western world by aligning itself with the values and interests of NATO member states.

Its membership in NATO provided Turkey with economic, political, and military benefits, such as increased trade and investment, as well as military aid and training.

Lastly, Turkey saw NATO as a mechanism to help safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Given its strategic location between Europe and Asia, Turkey has historically been a crossroads for ancient civilizations and empires and has had to deal with a number of regional conflicts throughout its history.

Joining NATO enabled Turkey to formalize its alliances with other countries and strengthen its position in the region.

Overall, Turkey’s decision to join NATO was a strategic move with multiple benefits, including enhanced security, economic development, and regional stability.

Turkish Flag blowing in the wind with a blue sky in the background

NATO’s presence in Türkİye

NATO maintains a number of bases in Turkey, with the largest being Incirlik Air Base located in Adana Province.

The base plays a crucial role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s operations, serving as a forward staging area for military operations in the Middle East and as a strategic launch pad for air strikes against ISIS.

In addition to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey is also home to other strategically important NATO installations, including a radar site in Malatya, a command and control center in Izmir, and an early warning radar facility near Kurecik.

These bases and facilities enable NATO to project military power into the Middle East and North Africa, providing the alliance with important operational capabilities in an area of strategic importance.

However, NATO bases in Turkey have also been a source of controversy in recent years, with tensions arising between Turkey and other NATO members over issues such as the presence of U.S. troops at Incirlik and Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system in 2019.

FAQs about Nato & FOriegn Policy

Is Turkey a founding member of NATO?

NATO is currently made up of 31 countries. While Turkey was not a founding member, it joined just a few short years after NATO’s inception.

Did Turkey approve of Finland joining NATO?

After months of delay, Turkey has approved Finland’s application to join NATO but has still chosen to block Sweden’s approval. Turkey is not, however, the only one to uphold Sweden’s process as Hungary also has chosen to stall the process.

Who has the biggest army in NATO?

America has the largest military in NATO with 1,346,400 military personnel and Turkey has the second largest with 446,900 military personnel.

What country left NATO?

As of April 2023, no countries have chosen to leave NATO even though there have been talks of such. There are, however, multiple former dependencies of NATO that after having become independent never applied for membership to NATO.

What is NATO’s foreign policy?

According to the US Mission, NATO’s fundamental goal is to safeguard the Allies’ (30 countries from North America & Europe) freedom and security by political and military means.


Turkey’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1951 has been a major milestone in the history of the Alliance.

Turkey has been an active member of NATO since then, providing its second-largest army and hosting the Allied Land Command headquarters.

In 2023, Finland officially joined NATO with Turkey’s approval, after months of delays.

This marks another significant step forward for both countries and for NATO as a whole.

Read more:

Turkey vacation basics

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E-SIM: When I traveled to SE Asia I discovered e-sims and I’m never going back. Airalo has been easy and cheap!

TRAVEL INSURANCE: I use TravelInsurance.com for my trips abroad.

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