Monday, 07 November 2011 09:27

Turkish Foreign Policy in Evolution

By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 21 of the Turkey Analyst)

Turkish government representatives insist that they want to develop good ties in all directions, and consider these relations non-exclusive. Turkish officials describe their country as a bridge among these neighboring blocs and civilizations. They emphasize their newfound commitment to convey Western liberal democratic values to the newly emerging democracies that are slowly displacing the traditionally authoritarian countries of the Middle East. Turks would ideally like their country to become a diplomatic and energy bridge that connects Europe to the Middle East, Iran to the West, and the Black Sea to the Mediterranean in ways that would enhance Ankara’s leverage by making Turkey a pivotal state and an indispensable partner to its neighbors.

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By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 4, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)

The Arab spring has catapulted democracy and human rights to the top of Turkey’s stated foreign policy priorities. Turkey’s assumption of what almost amounts to a “neoconservative” foreign policy mission in the Middle East is far from risk-free. Ankara was recently served a first, dire public warning from Iran. The greatest danger for Turkey is that its rulers indulge in the conviction that they are on the right side of history, in tune with the forces of change. The new dictum of Turkish foreign policy might be labeled “freedom at home, freedom abroad”, but the AKP government’s celebration of “freedom” has a hollow ring to it. It may be that Erdoğan is in tune with the aspirations of the Arab street, but he is not paying close enough attention to the simmering anger on Turkey’s Kurdish streets.

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By Veysel Ayhan (vol. 4, no. 18 of the Turkey Analyst)

The September 12-16 tour of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya has occasioned the question what role Turkey can be expected to play in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the “Arab Spring”. Erdoğan is for good reason perceived as a leader who speaks for the “Arab street” on the international scene. But, concurrently – although perhaps less obviously – Turkey’s Middle Eastern and North African aspirations are increasingly in tune with Western interests as well.

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By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)

Chinese analysts have been pleasantly surprised by the stupendous growth in their cultural, economic, and political ties with Turkey after the Cold War. They describe both China and Turkey as two emerging powers that are now entering a new strategic partnership that could reshape Eurasia. Chinese scholars consider Turkey an increasingly important country for China due to its growing economy, increasingly independent and influential diplomacy, and pivotal location between Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East.

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By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst) 

On September 2, 2011, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel from ambassadorial to second secretary level and suspended all bilateral military agreements between the two countries. On September 8, 2011, in an interview on Al Jazeera, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan vowed that Turkey would provide naval escorts for any future attempts by Turkish aid vessels to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. He also warned that Turkey would “prevent Israel from unilaterally exploiting the natural resources of the eastern Mediterranean.”

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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.

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