By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 2, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
After two decades of deep tensions with Iran, the AKP government has largely rebuilt relations with Turkey’s historical rival and neighbor. Yet its responses to the Iranian crisis – in which Prime Minister Erdoğan was embarrassingly among the first to congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his highly questionable re-election – appears to question the foundations of this rapprochement. Moreover, it indicates the limitations of Ankara’s newly found “zero-problem” foreign policy, which appears to mean that Turkey has no opinions on the basis of either interests, values or principles in its neighborhood.
By Tülin Daloğlu (vol. 2, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
The relationship between the United States and Turkey has traditionally relied heavily on military cooperation. However, President Barack Obama’s April trip to Turkey created an impetus to build a stronger economic connection – provided that businesses find a profitable incentive to work together. But the most significant step toward “normalizing” relations between the countries came when the U.S. recognized that the separatist Kurdish organization PKK poses a threat not only to Turkey but also to America, and Iraq, as well. It was a step destined to ease the tension that has characterized, even poisoned the U.S.-Turkish relationship since the invasion of Iraq.
By M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
During the nearly seven years of rule by the Justice and development party, AKP, Turkey has deepened its relations in particular with the Muslim Middle East, what has been termed its “strategic depth”. The main theorist of Turkey’s evolving foreign policy priorities, Ahmet Davutoglu, was recently appointed foreign minister. Davutoglu has already had a pivotal role as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief foreign policy advisor. As foreign minister, he will be directly responsible for the further implementation and for the ultimate testing of his ideas. They rest on an assumption of the possibility of achieving a state of harmony in Turkey’s regional relations, an assumption that is likely unrealistic.
By Soner Çağaptay (vol. 2, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
Under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has cultivated close ties with Iran, Syria, Sudan, the Gulf Countries, as well as with Russia. In the West, the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy had until recently generally been interpreted as neo-Ottomanist, i.e., a benevolent attempt by Turkey to assert itself in the Ottoman realm, which was assumed to be to the benefit of the Euro-Atlantic community as well. However, a closer look reveals that Turkey is asserting itself exclusively in the Muslim Middle East, while ignoring other areas of the Ottoman realm. What is more, under the AKP, Turkish foreign policy empathizes increasingly not with the West, but with Russia and Iran, and especially with Arab Islamist causes.
By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 2, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
The past several weeks have seen the level of diplomatic rumoring on a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement reach new heights. The Turkish government embarked on this endeavor seriously last Summer, a move that could redraw the geopolitics of the Caucasus in unpredictable ways, depending on how it is undertaken. While the initiative had much to do with Turkish-US relations, the Obama visit paradoxically coincided with Ankara being forced to hit the brakes on the issue, at least temporarily. It has once again been made clear that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict remains the major security challenge in the region, and that it needs to be tackled head on.
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.