More than 6 million people in Turkey spent the last weekend in the streets commemorating the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
The reason why the people's reflexes are still alive after all this time is that they believe that the danger is not yet over.
Now, the whole world knows what that belief is. Turkish people think what happened on that night was not an ordinary coup like the previous ones in the country and that the purpose was to make the country vulnerable to invasion.
As opposed to what some Western politicians and strategists think, the only factor in the proliferation of this conviction is not the political atmosphere in Turkey.
The West itself has the lion's share in the emotional break of Turkish people from the West.
This is because Turks personally witnessed that the West and its institutions did not even formally side with them on that night.
Feeling alone in the face of the silence of Western institutions such as the EU, NATO and the U.N. on the night of the coup attempt, the people joined hands. They clamped together even more tightly as a result of the fact that soldiers deemed responsible for the coup escaped to U.S. bases or took shelter in EU countries such as Greece and Germany.
Moreover, there were examples in front of them such as the embarrassing design of the West, which pretends to be the knight of democracy, in Egypt and Syria.
Obviously, this course of things has brought Turkey, which has been in the Western bloc for a century since the founding of the modern Republic, to a crossroads. However, the path that Ankara points to and moves toward is poised not only to influence its EU accession talks, but also its relations with institutions like NATO, which has high symbolic value.
For instance, the fact that Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952, is purchasing S400 air defense systems from Russia, the de facto enemy of the organization, is an issue that must be emphasized.
News from Ankara and Moscow reveal that the parties even discussed concrete figures regarding the rocket batteries and their cost.
There is no problem with NATO. In other words, Turkey's NATO membership does not prevent it from pursuing a multifaceted policy, including procurement. Experts argue that this diversity in defense will not create a contradiction for Turkey's close relations and interests in other regions.
Obviously, however, such a de facto situation will make NATO, the most iconic institution of the Western bloc against Russia, rather than its function, lose credibility.
Brussels is aware that it will not be able to make up for Turkey, its strategic border ally, with the new member countries it has in Eastern Europe or with alternatives in the chaotic Arab world.
I think that NATO's condemnation of the July 15 coup attempt, even though delayed by a year, and its rejection of Germany, which demands pressure on Turkey because of the base visit crisis, are signs of this awareness.
However, almost all of the Turkish electorate now wants more solid assurances from the West and its institutions. Hence, NATO should not adopt a rigid attitude like the EU and must increase its gestures in its dialogue with Ankara, which indexes its presence to the electorate's reflexes.
NATO should do this before Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has looked at an ally like Turkey with great aspiration for years, comes much closer to Turkey.
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