By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has just completed a well-timed visit to Washington. Although many issues arose during his multi-day rounds of meetings with congressional and executive branch figures, the topic that invariably drew the most attention in public, and likely in private, was what to do about Syria now that the diplomatic initiatives have been exhausted. Turkey and the United States have been aligning their policies toward Syria throughout the crisis, and Washington expects Turkey to assume a leading public role in any future initiative in its southern neighbor. Yet no specific new initiatives were announced by either party during Davutoğlu’s Washington visit. As has been indicated by Turkish and U.S. diplomats, the U.S. and Turkey prefer to consult with other governments also seeking a firmer stance toward Syria before committing to a concrete action plan.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 5, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
The international sanctions against Iran, and most recently the decision of the EU countries to stop importing oil from Iran, are ultimately going to have a major impact on Turkey, since it is dependent on Iran for its energy supplies. From the standpoint of economic rationality, neither Turkey nor Iran enjoy the luxury of engaging in controversies that entail the risk of endangering their mutually beneficial relationship. However, the current evolution of in international events nonetheless have the potential of bringing about a confrontation that would have appeared utterly unthinkable only two years ago. Yet, it must still be assumed that neither Turkey nor Iran will voluntarily seek to break off their relationship.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 5, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
By agreeing to deploy the Army Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance System (AN/TPY-2) on Turkish soil, the United States and Turkey have concluded by far the strategically most significant agreement in many years. By hosting the radar, Turkey has dispelled doubts regarding its alliance allegiances, while concurrently making itself a target of Iranian counter-measures. The crucial question for Turkey in the wake of the deployment in Malatya is the extent to which NATO’s missile defense shield will indeed provide it with comprehensive protection. Whether or not the possible security gains stand to be offset by new security threats arising is the vital question that begs for an answer, and that the Turkish authorities need to address.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 5, no. 2 of the Turkey Analyst)
Until now, Turkey’s presence in Iraq has generally been encouraged by all major Iraqi groups. Turkey brings important diplomatic and economic assets to the partnership, especially in the economic dimension. Turkish officials have generally refrained from the more blatant intervention in Iraq’s affairs that has aroused popular animosities against Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States. But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s confrontational policies against Sunni and Kurdish leaders have now alarmed Ankara about the risks of renewed violent sectarian strife in Turkey’s southern neighbor. If they put behind them their recent spat, Iraqi policy makers would recognize that Turkey could be Iraq’s best friend in a volatile region. Turkey’s interests require a strong but democratic Iraqi state ruled by a coalition of political forces that can promote domestic stability, national independence, and regional security.
By Joshua W. Walker (vol. 4, no. 24 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s emergence in the 21st century as a Middle Eastern power has been in the making for the last decade, but only fully crystallized in the wake of the “Arab Awakenings” this year. Unlike Iran and Saudi Arabia that actively supported counter-protest movements to deflect attention away from their own domestic shortcomings, Turkey’s vibrant civil society nudged the government onto the side of the newly emerging Arab democratic movements. Turkey has earned a reputation under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as being a pragmatic and active actor in the Middle East. Despite the successes of AKP’s foreign policy in the last decade in opening new markets and expanding into its neighborhood through a policy of “zero problems with neighbors,” the Arab spring of 2011 has forced Ankara to confront the new realities of the Middle East. Ankara is now in need of a new foreign policy, post-Arab awakenings.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.