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Its star rising, Turkey is forced to choose an ally

Analysis: At NATO summit, missile defense leaves Turkey caught between Iran and the West.

“What this is really all about is Turkey acting as an equal member of NATO,” said Soli Ozel, a prominent newspaper columnist on international affairs and professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “They are trying not to compromise their national interests for alliance interests and policies.”

Despite the challenges, most are still betting that a middle ground will be found between Turkey and NATO and that the missile defense plan will move forward. The stakes are simply to high, experts say, for Turkey not to back NATO.

“If Turkey just simply blocks this it would cause some serious reassessments in Western capitals about ultimately how good an ally Turkey is to the U.S. and NATO,” said Nick Witney, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.