By Ely Karmon (vol. 4, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
Against the background of the fall of the autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the massive demonstrations in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, the civil war in Libya and first civil disorders in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, there is growing apprehension in the West and among secular and liberal circles in the Arab world the uprisings could result in the coming to power of Islamist movements.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Moscow’s decision to “suspend” its compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty since December 2007 now remains one of the few visible sources of tension in the otherwise significantly improved relationship between Turkey and Russia. Yet, like other NATO countries, Turkey has sought not to bury the CFE but to praise and revive it. Turkish officials are calling for further negotiations and mutual concessions in order to restore the treaty framework. Perhaps the most immediate concern behind Turkish unease at the potential demise of the CFE regime is that it could worsen tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
By Joshua Walker (vol. 4, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
In stark contrast to its support for the protest movements in Egypt and Tunisia, Turkey has abstained from taking a principled, democratic stand in the case of Libya. Turkey has opposed the imposition of sanctions and military measures against the Libyan regime. The failure of the Turkish government to live up to the democratic ideals that purportedly guide its policy toward the Middle East reveals the limits of a foreign policy which seeks to balance ideals and “realism”. Ultimately, the effect of Turkey on regional dynamics will only be as strong as its ideals and principles.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 4 of the Turkey Analyst)
Several developments are making Turkey’s role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) increasingly prominent. The Turkish government is strongly backing a Turkish national for the position of OSCE Secretary-General, the organization’s most important currently vacant position. In addition, Turkey’s compliance with the OSCE’s so-called human dimension has come under attack, especially due to the government’s restrictions on media freedoms. Furthermore, Turkey is playing a prominent role in several OSCE security issues, including efforts to revive the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty as well as resolve the protracted conflicts in the former Soviet republics, including in several countries near Turkey.
By Halil M. Karaveli and Svante E. Cornell (vol. 4, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
Turkey’s leaders have embraced the popular revolts in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül publicly urging Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to respect the will of the people and resign. Yet where authoritarian regimes are Islamic as in Iran and Sudan, Ankara has propped them up and refrained from any criticism; only where Islamists are in opposition has the Turkish government come out in support of change to the status quo and “democracy”. In fact, the AKP foreign policy is in ever clearer terms motivated primarily by Islamic solidarity and ideology. Contrary to expectations that Turkey will serve as a moderate example to emulate for the forces that clamor for change in the Middle East, the convulsions in the Arab world risk giving further impetus to Islamic radicalization in Turkey itself.
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.