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11.03.2011

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Opportunity Amidst Turmoil in Turkey’s Neighborhood?

From the desk of the editor

 

Since our fall issue of TPQ, a chain reaction of events in the Arab world has dominated debate in Turkey's neighborhood. The toppling of the Tunisian and Egyptian leaders and waves of protest spreading to countries such as Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain, Algeria, and Iran have incited questions on whether Turkey might be a ‘model’ for the Muslim Middle East and discussions about Turkey’s approach to democratization in its neighborhood.

INTERVIEW WITH KEMAL KILIÇDAROĞLU

In this exclusive interview for Turkish Policy Quarterly, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu outlines his views and his Party’s position on the pressing foreign policy choices Turkey faces and the changing needs of the society. Answering questions on issues ranging from minority rights and the governance of religion, to policies towards neighbors and approaches to the uprisings in the Middle East, Kılıçdaroğlu relates the vision that will steer the “new CHP.”

THE EFFICIENCY OF TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY
Ömer Çelik

The recent claims that Turkey pursues a policy of Neo-Ottomanism are unfounded and misleading. Turkey’s involvement in regional tensions and conflicts is merely aimed at contributing to solutions and providing assistance to foster peace and stability in its surroundings.

AKP’S DOMESTICALLY-DRIVEN FOREIGN POLICY
Carol Migdalovitz

AKP (the Justice and Development Party) adeptly uses foreign policy to advance its domestic drive for power. It favors Muslim solidarity, muscular nationalism, and mercantilism to outflank more Islamist and nationalist political opponents. And it favors them even when the choice puts Turkey at odds with the United States, a NATO ally, and the European Union, which it officially aspires to join.

CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST PUTS TURKEY IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
James M. Dorsey

The wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Arab world offers Turkey opportunities to enhance its position as a regional model of development but also highlights both contradictions in Turkey’s foreign policy and shortcomings of its democracy. For the first time in its history, Turkey is emerging as a true bridge between East and West. Change in Egypt and Tunisia and unrest elsewhere in the region however puts Turkish aspirations and its ability to live up to expectations to the test.

THE JASMINE REVOLUTION
Mahmoud El-May

The Jasmine revolution was quick and clean. Now Tunisia faces an important transition period and counts on its traditional allies and friends for political, economic, and logistical support. Turkey, as a country with regional ambitions and an important trade partner, needs to learn more about Tunisian dynamics. Tunisians expect more from Turkey.

TURKEY’S ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL DIPLOMACY
Shahin Vallée

In the flurry of arguments and theories put forth to explain the profound changes in Turkish diplomacy, little attention has been given to economic and financial considerations. The rise of a new business elite which can relay its demands at the highest level of government and the growing importance of international creditors is contributing to reshape Turkey’s diplomacy and to ground it in what A. Hirschmann would call a departure from the warmth of Passion to one centered around the cold pursuits of Interests.

TURKEY AND ARMENIA:A SECOND CHANCE?
Thomas de Waal

The Armenia-Turkey normalization process which began in 2008 was the most promising development in the South Caucasus for years but its stalling in April 2010 has made the situation there much worse. Although there is a heavy weight of history around the Armenian-Turkish relationship the most important driver for the process was Turkey’s desire to play a greater role in the Caucasus. A revival of the process would actually be in the long-term interest of Azerbaijan and there is still a chance that it can be re-started after the coming Turkish election if certain conditions are met.

THE LIMITS OF GOOD INTENTIONS: THE CAUCASUS AS A TEST CASE FOR TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY
Alexander Jackson

The complexity of the challenges facing the Caucasus makes it a litmus test for Turkey’s new foreign policy. The region illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of “zero problems with neighbours”, as well as the need to encourage “zero problems between neighbours” in pursuit of Turkish interests. Turkey’s influence in the Caucasus provides a strong opportunity to help resolve the region’s political and security challenges.

TURKEY´S RISING ROLE IN AFRICA
Mehmet Özkan

Turkey´s interest to develop relations with Africa is highly interesting and a relatively new development in Turkish foreign policy. Although it has started in 1998, its implementation in a coherent and sophisticated manner took place since the AKP came in power in 2002.

THE RUSSO-GEORGIAN RELATIONSHIP: PERSONAL ISSUES OR NATIONAL INTEREST?
Kornely K. Kakachia

The Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia in 2008 brought renewed international interest in the South Caucasus. Since the conflict, the Russo-Georgian relationship remains tense and is characterized by threats, recriminations, and mutual suspicion.

CHANGING DYNAMICS OF TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
Çiğdem Nas

Turkey’s negotiations for accession to the European Union are going through a difficult period while Turkish foreign policy is in the midst of a rapid change with active involvement in adjacent regions such as the Middle East.

TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS THE BALKANS: NEW ACTIVISM, NEO-OTTOMANISM OR/SO WHAT?
İnan Rüma

It is often argued that Ankara has developed a new interest and manifested a growing economic and diplomatic role in its neighboring regions – including the Balkans. This trend is mostly referred to as “new activism” in media circles, and has taken a place in the endless discussions on the success/failure of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government.

TPQ ROUNDTABLE: SHIFTING TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY: A CHALLENGE FOR THE TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE?
Benjamin Katcher

In this article, the author highlights some of the topics central to the debates that took place during the first leg of the two-day TPQ Roundtable marathon organized with the support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation. Focusing on the insights provided by the event’s panel discussants, the article presents a brief analysis of the potential implications of Turkey’s recent, assertive foreign policies.

The Agenda: REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS, REPORTS and EVENTS
 
 








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