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  • Author: Bernard El Ghoul
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly
  • Institution: ARI Movement
  • Abstract: The intensification of Russia’s diplomacy in the Middle East is combined with a clearly defined objective: positioning itself as the new protector of persecuted Christians in the region. The author highlights both the ambitions of the Kremlin in the Mediterranean and the ever-growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has become a major political actor. Moscow sees Shiite Islam as its ally in the Middle East and is increasingly aligning itself with a Shiite axis composed of Iran, Syria, and the Lebanese Hezbollah. The author examines this burgeoning Russian-Shiite alliance in light of Russia’s strategic interests in the region.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Religion, Violent Extremism, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Sabri Sayari
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly
  • Institution: ARI Movement
  • Abstract: Turkey’s Middle East policy under the AKP government – in particular, its stance on Syria and the fight against ISIL – has had a damaging effect on not only its 60-year-old alliance with the US, but also its regional standing. The author chronicles several of the government’s blunders, arguing that they ultimately stem from a “fundamental miscalculation of Turkey’s power and capacity to shape regional developments.” From the government’s misplaced confidence in Bashar al-Assad’s regime and subsequent radical reversal in its Syria policy, to its sectarian approach to the region and support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to its deteriorated relationship with Israel, the author contends that Turkey has succeeded only in further alienating itself.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, ISIL
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Egypt
  • Author: Merve Tahiroglu, Behnam Ben Taleblue
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly
  • Institution: ARI Movement
  • Abstract: Inheriting a legacy of imperial competition, the Turkey-Iran rivalry today manifests itself through the contest for leadership of the Arab Middle East, and Muslim hearts and minds more generally. The authors contend that Turkey and Iran’s relationship transcends the boundaries of amity or enmity that traditionally define actors in the modern Middle East state system. Rather, Ankara and Tehran have been able to successfully compartmentalize elements of their rivalry while strengthening bilateral ties and expanding areas of economic cooperation. The authors posit that the present-day Turko-Iranian relationship falls in the category of neither friend nor enemy, but rather that of frenemy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Mojtaba Barghandan
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly
  • Institution: ARI Movement
  • Abstract: The Islamic Republic of Iran entered into a new era of public diplomacy following Hassan Rouhani’s victory in the June 2013 presidential election. Iran seeks both to revitalize its soft power tools and reach out to the international community through a more moderate, tolerant, and open dialogue policy. Digital diplomacy and social media have become increasingly important to this end. The author expounds on the new administration’s social-media friendly approach to fulfilling its foreign policy goals, in addition to taking stock of the soft power initiatives undertaken by international actors, and the possible obstacles for Iran in employing these same methods.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Media, Social Media, digital culture
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Gabriel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly
  • Institution: ARI Movement
  • Abstract: Most analysts consider Davutogˆlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” strategy a failure, and typically cite Turkey’s decision to lend its support to religious conservative movements like the Muslim Brotherhood during the Arab Spring as a primary example. However, the failures of the last few years must also be understood within the framework of a larger narrative where Turkey has insisted on functioning as an intermediary between Israel and Syria, and the United States and Iran. These episodes, during which Turkey overstepped the boundaries of its influence, revealed the limitations of Turkish foreign policy and foreshadowed its regional decline.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil War, Diplomacy, Mediation
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Syria