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.
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 M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
The unexpectedly harsh Turkish reaction to the Israeli offensive in Gaza has raised many eyebrows, given the implications of a shift in Turkey’s foreign policy. It remains unclear to what extent Prime Minister Erdogan’s rhetoric is related to a growing sense of Islamic solidarity underpinning Turkish foreign policy, and how much can be related simply to the upcoming local elections, where Erdogan is anxious not to be outflanked by the growing, rival Islamist Felicity party. In any case, the event – and the growing emotional character of Turkish leaders’ behavior – is an indicator of the shifting decision-making structure in Turkish foreign policy, whereby the traditional foreign policy establishment is being marginalized in favor of the Prime Minister’s own inner cabinet.
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.