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.
By M. K. Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 2, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
According to conventional wisdom in Europe and the United States, Turkey is a “bridge” between the Muslim world and the West, and has been a reliable Western ally for half a century. However, from a Western point of view, recent developments create concerns about Turkey’s direction. It remains to be seen whether President Barack Obama’s administration will be able to rejuvenate the Turkish-American alliance, hurting since 2003, or whether developments in Turkey lead to a fundamentally new situation.
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.