George Protopapas contributed a paper in online russian Journal of International Affairs with “Turkey’s Geopolitical Interests and Middle East Revolts” 20 July 2011
“Arab Spring” is dramatically shifting the regional balance of power in the Middle East and North Africa creating a new status of winners and losers. Arab uprising challenges Turkish foreign policy, ‘’zero problems’’ policy with its neighbors. Turkey’s most significant challenge is to define its role in “New Arab Order” as a regional soft power. Moreover Ankara is facing risks and dilemmas in an unstable neighborhood from the Middle East to Mediterranean Sea.
Ankara’s statecraft could be analyzed based on four parameters which expose vital strategies and useful conclusions: a. the consequences of Arab revolts on Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s doctrine of “zero problems”, b. Ankara’s reactions to upheavals in Egypt, Libya and Syria, c. the Turkish moderate Islamic model, d. the redrawing of geopolitical alliances in the Middle East.
The regions of the Middle East and North Africa are great importance for the Turkish government. In his victory post- elections speech prime- minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled his foreign policy for the Muslim populations. He selected to address as Mideastern leader stating “all friendly and brotherly nations from Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Cairo, Sarajevo, Baku and Nicosia…The hopes of the victims and the oppressed have won,” and, “Beirut has won as much as İzmir. West Bank, Gaza, Ramallah, Jerusalem have won as much as Diyarbakır. The Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans have won, just as Turkey has won.” Thus, “Arab Spring” enforces Turkey to review its foreign policy in order to adjust its orientation to the new geopolitical regional environment.
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