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  • Author: Volker Perthes
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Owing to a changing geopolitical environment and a new foreign policy approach, Turkey's policies towards and role in the Middle East have undergone substantial changes since 2003. The most important facets, from a European perspective, are Turkey's efforts to improve relations with its direct Middle Eastern neighbors, and to play a mediating role between different, sometimes quite difficult, players in the Middle East. In general, Turkey has been more successful in improving its relations with proximate neighbors than in settling disputes between other states and non-state actors in the Middle East. As long as Turkey maintains good relations with all players in the Middle East and understands the limitations to its role, it can substantially contribute to positive change in the Middle Eastern landscape. This will also allow more coordination and cooperation between Turkey and the EU with regard to their overlapping Mediterranean and Middle Eastern neighborhoods.
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Wolfgang G. Schwanitz
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Ursula Wokoeck's book is a dissertation written at the School of History, Tel Aviv University. Known by her articles on Ibn Khaldun, Theodor Noeldeke, and Middle Eastern modernity, this historian researched the development of Middle Eastern studies as part of a wider discipline: Oriental studies, then still a minor discipline at the faculty of philosophy within the modern German university system.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Germany
  • Author: Dimitrios Triantaphyllou, Eleni Fotiou
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Since 2000, Turkey's Europeanisation process has affected the country's foreign policy both as a structural and a conjunctural factor. As a structural factor, the EU has had a good deal of influence on Turkey's political and security culture by introducing elements of “soft power” and by expanding the number of Turkey's foreign policymaking agents, particularly in the realm of “pipeline diplomacy.” As a conjunctural factor, the EU has affected Turkey's foreign policy rhetoric by introducing new negotiating chips, and thus complicating the “bargaining” process. However, in order for Turkey's energy diplomacy to achieve its goals, Turkey's strategy towards the Middle East and the Caucasus must become coherent and its approach towards the EU, the US, and Russia, balanced. Most importantly, the question of whether Turkey perceives “pipeline diplomacy” as a means to achieve energy independence, thus enhancing its security, or as leverage to increase its power, thus leading to its recognition as a regional hegemon, remains open.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Tuncay Babalı
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey has become an important east-west and north-south gas and oil transit route and an energy hub, thanks to the Turkish straits, and the existing and proposed pipelines that run through its territory. Economic opportunities, however, can present diplomatic liabilities. In a tough and complicated region, Turkey finds itself caught between the interests of competing superpowers and regional players. As the world's 16th largest economy, Turkey's thirst for energy will only increase. Satisfying this thirst requires not only diversification of sources and routes, but also good relations with all neighbors, in addition to traditional partners. An analysis of Ankara's options and new foreign policy vision shows that Turkey has little choice but to use greater caution and engagement. Following its own national interests and security concerns will drive Turkey to new openings in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and other CIS countries. Energy will be one of the main pillars of Turkey's policy of engagement and integration in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia, Syria
  • Author: Ufuk Ulutaş
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Syrian track has been an important component of the Arab-Israeli peace talks due to its integral role in reaching comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The latest round of indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria was initiated under the sponsorship of Turkey on May 21, 2008, and by the end of 2008 both sides were ready to start the direct talks. However, in protest of Israeli aerial and ground offensive in Gaza in December 2008, Syria halted the indirect talks with Israel. Several factors, including the lack of American endorsement; Olmert's weak prospect in Israel due to the ongoing corruption investigation; approaching early elections, and the rise of rightist parties in Israel, topped by the Israeli offensive in Gaza, rendered the conciliation efforts futile.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza, Syria
  • Author: F. Stephen Larrabee
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Obama's election represents an important opportunity to put US- Turkish relations on a new, more cooperative footing. On many issues – especially those related to the Middle East – Obama's positions overlap or closely coincide with those of Turkey more than the policies pursued by the Bush administration. This is particularly true regarding Iran and Syria, which should help to reduce these issues as irritants in US-Turkish relations. The critical question mark is what position Obama will take regarding the Armenian genocide resolution, which is likely to be reintroduced in Congress in 2009. Passage of the resolution could deal a severe blow to prospects for putting US-Turkish relations on a new, more stable footing as well as undermine recent efforts at promoting Turkish-Armenian reconciliation that have opened up since President Gul's historic visit to Yerevan in September
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Ömer Taspinar
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Under the Obama administration American foreign policy will be engaged in genuine coalition building with allies. Such a return to multilateralism will have a positive impact on transatlantic and Turkish-American relations. Just like under the Clinton presidency during the late 1990s, Turkey needs American support to undo the deadlock with the European Union. America's return to Middle East diplomacy will also improve Turkish-American relations since the Obama administration is much more likely to support Ankara's openings to Damascus. Turkey should make an effort to host a new Arab-Israeli peace process in the framework of an international conference in Istanbul. In the short run Ankara can avoid problems with Washington on the Armenian issue if it decides to enhance its military and civilian support to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia
  • Author: Ibrahim Kalin
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The interest Turkey has generated in the Arab world over the last few years is caused by the convergence of changes in Turkey, the Middle East and the global power-balance. Turkey's domestic political process, its new foreign policy and the EU membership process are closely followed in the larger Muslim world. The new configurations of power in the Middle East and the world at large lead to new types of geopolitical imagination. From Turkish soap operas and import products to Turkey's involvements in Lebanon and Palestine, Turkey is claiming a new space in the Arab public opinion in a manner never seen before. While AK Party's ties with the Arab and Muslim world are partly responsible for Turkey's renewed foreign policy activism in the region, the current debate is also reflective of the failures of the international system and heralds the advent of a new balance of power in Turkey's immediate neighborhood.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Tsilla Hershco
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Nicolas Sarkozy's election as France's president in May 2007 has marked a rhetorical change in the foreign policy of Paris and has made the French presidency much more dynamic. Sarkozy has led many international initiatives and increased France's presence in international and Middle Eastern arenas. Despite all these developments, however, France's Middle-Eastern policy has been characterized by a large degree of continuity since Sarkozy has embraced traditional French perceptions and agenda concerning the Middle East. Thus, he has continued France's so-called 'Arab policy', and mainly pursued past policies on key regional issues such as the Israeli-Arab conflict. Consequently, Sarkozy's declarations concerning the changing nature of French policy do not seem fully compatible with reality. So far there has also been a gap between France's optimistic assessment of the results of its Middle Eastern policy versus the less impressive outcomes on the ground.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Paris, France