Turkey's New Foreign Policy Unravelled


Three-Article Series
By Dr.Kerem Oktem
The University of Oxford

How new Turkey will modify Ataturk's legacy? ( Reuters Photo)
Turkey's foreign policy is changing at breakneck speed. If the country, only ten years ago, was experiencing conflicts of different intensity — notably with Greece, Syria, Iraq and Armenia — today only the Cypriot problem remains unresolved, largely due to the dynamics on the island rather than to the shortcomings in Turkish foreign policy.

This change is significant, as it suggests the beginning of a new politics, especially in the Middle East. Turkey's foreign policy community has opted for new terms of engagement with both its western and eastern neighbours, and it seems that they are received warmly.

Yet, while much of Turkey's new policy has contributed to the mitigation of conflicts and the deepening of economic and political cooperation, it has also created new fields of tension, particularly in the waning alliance with Israel, the new strategic partnership with Syria, and the friendly relations with "rogue states", such as Iran and the Sudan.

A growing number of commentators is now asking whether Turkey is reneging on its traditional Western orientation, opting instead for regional leadership and alliances in the Muslim world.

The article series on "Turkey's New Foreign Policy" will examine the changes in Turkey's foreign policy by looking at the interplay of domestic transformations, geostrategic context, and the foreign policy doctrine of "Strategic Depth", which the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu developed during his academic work as Professor of International relations.

The first article focuses in the eastern neighbourhood, and specifically on Turkey's relationship with the Arab and Muslim world, as well as with Israel.

The second article will investigate the role of historical disagreements and economic interest in the Caucasus.

The third article will conclude by examining the tensions within Turkey's new foreign policy and possible new conflicts that might arise.


Turkey's Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Turkey's Relations with Caucasus and Russia

Kerem Oktem is a Research Associate at the European Studies Centre in the University of Oxford and works at South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX).He has concentrated on questions of conflict and memory in Turkey, South East Europe and the Mediterranean, and the impact of historical conflicts on inter-regional relations.

His recent publications include "Angry Nation: Turkey since 1989 "and "Turkey’s Engagement with Modernity".

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