Analysing international policy processes and Lithuania’s role in them
Review Sep 21, 2021

Expression of (non-)identified Lithuanian-Turkish interests In the common neighborhood of the European Union and Turkey

Key highlights:

  • The increasing role of Turkey in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Lithuania’s newly actualised interests in the Middle East mean that Ankara’s behaviour is becoming an increasingly important factor in the foreign policy of Vilnius.
  • Although Turkey’s NATO membership, interdependence with the EU, and influence in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries create a continuing need for pragmatic cooperation, Ankara’s current strategic orientation conflicts with the long-term interests of both Vilnius and the West at large, namely in maintaining and extending a rules-based multilateral international order.
  • The complex dynamics of confrontation and cooperation that define the relations between the West and Turkey are evident in the East Mediterranean conflict between the two parties, that escalated last summer and was rapidly stabilized by the end of the yearEast Medit.
  • The inherent limits to sustainable cooperation between Vilnius and Turkey are well illustrated by Ankara’s two-fold relationship with Moscow, in which localised conflicts co-exist with multiple cooperation initiatives enabled by Erdoğan and Putin’s personal relations and convergent outlooks on international politics.
  • Lithuania should be selective in its cooperation with Turkey and focus on cooperation in institutionalised multilateral formats and on strengthening pro-Western groups in Turkish society.
  • It is expedient for Vilnius’s decision-makers to look for ways to promote trilateral business cooperation between the EU, Eastern Partnership countries, and Turkey, renew and expand the EU-Turkey migration deal and customs union, and develop EU-Ankara cooperation within the scope of European ‘green deal’ policy.

In addition to his work with the Eastern Europe Studies Centre, Justinas Mickus is an associate analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis. His main research areas include European integration, international political economy, industrial and competition policy, and informal cooperation in global politics. His study on the “Lithuanian Grand Strategy and European Defence Integration” was selected among the best 100 global think tank publications in 2018.

Justinas has obtained his education in politics and international studies at Princeton University (A.B, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil).