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If the move succeeds it still has to be approved in Parliament, overcoming the likely opposition of Turkish nationalists and the pressures from Azrebaijan , 10 Turkey could reinforce its prestige as a broker, a regional peacemeaker with a stabilising influence in a volatile region. This move could bolster Turkey's case for EU accession and win back Ankara's reputation of reformist determination, which has faded in the second mandate 11 of the AKP-led government.

The decision will also help Armenia overcome its regional isolation and will open new commercial gateways westward to the economy of landlocked Armenia. On the negative side, the reality is that Turkey faces a much more diverse set of security threats and challenges: growing Kurdish nationalism and separatism; increasing sectarian violence in Iraq that threatens to spill over and draw in outside powers; an increasingly assertive Iran that may develop nuclear weapons; and a weak, fragmented Lebanon dominated by radical groups with close ties with Syria and Iran.


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Most of these threats are on Turkey's periphery with the Middle East Larrabee: , 3. Although Turkey is certainly a potential asset for the EU in the field of security, Europe is not willing to import insecurity with the Turkish accession and demands that Ankara solves a number of pending conflicts. Turkey: drawn into an unstable Middle East neighborhood.

Turkish Foreign Policy in a Changing World Order

Turkish attention today is focused much more intensely on the Middle East than in the past. As a result, the tension between Turkey's Western identity and its Middle Eastern orientation is likely to grow Larrabee: , 3. This is where the key challenges to Turkish security are located. Turkey is likely to be drawn more heavily into the Middle East by the Kurdish issue, Iran's nuclear ambitions, and other regional crisis.

As a result, the tension between Turkey's Western identity and its Middle Eastern orientation is likely to grow Larrabee: , vii. Prime Minister Erdogan's government has worked intensively to improve cooperation with Turkey's Middle Eastern neighbors. This year, efforts recently took on momentum, with a growing number of high-level visits and cooperation pacts being signed in a range of areas from culture to security, in what some call a process of regional integration similar to the one in Europe.

There is a tendency among some observers to attribute changes in Ankara's foreign policy to AKP's roots in Turkey's Islamist movement. Many analysts fear Turkish relations with the Muslim world may come at the expense of Turkey's Western orientation. Howeer, one must take into account the structural changes in international politics that coincide roughly with the two wars against Iraq and the changes in the regional power balance Cook: , Currently, the most pressing issue on Turkey's agenda is its relationship with Iraq.

Turkey has its own interests in the evolving situation in Iraq and is watching developments there with great concern. Ankara thinks the situation has the potential to be highly destabilising if it deteriorates further. Civil war or a fragmented Iraq, and the possible emergence of an independent Kurdistan in the northwest, would impact strongly on Turkish foreign policy, especially if Ankara feels compelled to intervene there to contain the fallout.

The most important external challenge Turkey faces today is Kurdish nationalism. As a result, Turkey today confronts the prospect that an independent Kurdish state will emerge on its southeastern border, which could strengthen separatist pressures among Turkey's own Kurdish population. Since , Turkey has faced an escalation of PKK-led 12 separatist violence. Turkey is also concerned about the intention of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq to incorporate the city of Kirkuk 13 and adjacent areas under its control.

Turkey fears that Kurdish control of Kirkuk's oil wealth would enable the Kurds to create an independent state Larrabee: , In October, Turkey and Iraq took a giant step forward to boost ties, signing more than 40 agreements. The deals were signed at a meeting of the key government ministers of the two countries under the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council Kene, Recently, the Turkish government, has undertaken a number of potentially significant measures in a search for a solution to the country's long-standing "Kurdish problem" Ramonet, and to cement Turkey's expanding ties with the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq.

For decades, Kurdish nationalists have demanded that Turkey end forceful assimilations and denial of even basic rights of Kurds and recognise their legitimate cultural rights by creating a dual educational system where classes are held in both Turkish and Kurdish. The AK has reversed decades of official policy by trying to meet the demands of Turkey's large Kurdish minority some 14 million in a total population of 72 million. The initiative called "Kurdish opening" was a welcoming development: it envisaged bringing members of the PKK back to Turkey from the organization's bases in Iraq and cells in Europe through an unofficial amnesty.

The return of the 12, refugees in the UN-run camp at Makhmour, in northern Iraq, is part of the Turkish government's plan to broaden freedoms for its Kurdish community and secure an end to the year violence by separatist Kurdish rebels, inside and on Turkey's borders. It is also a calculated political move to cement Turkey's expanding ties with the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq. Iraq's Kurds, despite age-old tensions with Turkey, have also warmed their relations as trade has boomed and the looming departure of the US troops, the Kurds' protectors, raises the spectre of isolation.

Unfortunately, the government has since backed down, calling off its plan to bring more PKK members back to Turkey, when a group of them, whom the Turkish government had allowed into the country from Iraq, delivered fiery speeches in support of the terrorist group Cagaptay, a. Turkey is opposed to isolating Iran and Syria or overthrowing the regimes in either country. Rather, Ankara favors policies aimed at engaging Iran and Syria and to encourage the United States to open dialogues with both countries. Erdogan's government is strongly opposed to a military strike against Tehran, which it believes could further destabilise the region.

Turkey's interest in good relations with Iran and Syria is in line with the European positions Larrabee: , 4. However, Turkey's outreaching should not be seen as undermining attempts to pressure Iran or as giving cover to Syria's maverick behavior. During Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Tehran, he stressed Iran's right to nuclear power for civil purposes, pointedly congratulated Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after his disputed election win in June Uslu, He further said that countries opposed to Iran's atomic program should give up their own nuclear weapons and defines as 'arrogant' the sanctions imposed on Tehran.

These declarations threaten to stir fresh tensions between Turkey and the EU, after Turkish leaders provoked a crisis in relations with Israel by banning it from participating in joint military exercises. Turkey and Syria, two former enemies, have also mended relations in late Haddad, Relations have improved swiftly after decades of mistrust based on Ankara's accusations that Damascus supported Turkey's banned Kurdistan Workers' Party. Turkey boosted its ties with Syria with a newly formed cooperation council.

The new cooperation agenda called for a series of meetings between respective ministers and the signing of diplomatic and economic agreements Al Jazeera, Rather than seeing Turkey's ties to Tehran and Damascus as a problem, Europe should view them as an asset. The EU might spur Turkey to find a way to play a bridge- building role between Iran and the international community in order to end Tehran's nuclear ambitions. As Turkey increases its relationships with states like Iran and Syria, which the United States and the EU, to a lesser extent, regard as destabilizing elements in the region, Ankara's value to the EU may increase further it it becomes a player in European-Middle Eastern rapprochement.

In fact, supporters of the AKP's new foreign policy argue that "Turkey is finally finding its voice in international politics" Abramowitz e Barkey: , 5. It should go without saying that Turkish assertion should not undermine Turkey's EU membership bid, nor jeopardize its credibility and the positive role it can play in the broader region.

One relevant aspect, involves Turkey's relationship with Israel. Since , Turkey has been engaged in extensive cooperation with Israel, formalised in a range of agreements stretching from cultural to military matters. The initiation of the Middle East peace process and the signing of the Oslo Agreement in created a conducive environment for the enhancement of relations between the two countries.

In , the signing of the defense and co-operation agreement signalled the emergence of new strategic co-operation. The agreements on military cooperation brought Turkey and Israel together as true security partners in the Middle East. While relations in military co-operation, trade, and tourism flourished, this new partnership proved to be mutually beneficial.

The Gaza offensive led to the disruption of indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria. However, the escalating tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the crisis in Lebanon during the summer of have adversely affected the relations, by negatively influencing Turkish public opinion towards Israel. Under the current AKP government, the dynamics have started to change somewhat. Ties have frayed as Turkish public opinion, which now counts for more, has turned increasingly hostile to Israel.


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The bloodshed in Gaza outraged many Turks, who praised Erdogan when he stormed out of a debate with Israel's president, Shimon Peres, stormed out of the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland after a heated debate with Shimon Peres on Gaza, earlier this year. In an interview with The Washington Post , Erdogan called for recognition of Hamas which won a landslide victory in Palestinian elections in He said isolating Hamas is the reason for the ongoing tensions in the region PressTV, A day after it dismissed Israel, Turkey invited Syria to joint military exercises and announced the creation of a Strategic Cooperation Council with Damascus.

Another important development is that recently Turkey has begun playing a new role in the Middle East: that of mediator. Turkey was one of the countries, together with Qatar, that mediated an agreement between the U. It is mediating Iraq and Syria's recent dispute. Iraq and Syria are entangled in a diplomatic dispute over demands that Damascus extradite two suspects wanted in suicide attacks in Baghdad.

Iraq says Syria has been used as a launching pad for violence in Iraq AP, Drawing on its growing closeness to Iran, Syria and Iraq, Turkey is working to position itself as a key regional mediator in the Middle East. Turkey's bid might be part of a larger plan to improve its relations with neighbors and take full advantage of its location and historical ties.

Ankara is poising to play a larger role than it has in previous decades. As the relations between Turkey and the European Union follow an uneven course, Turkish foreign policy trends have demonstrated a strategic shift toward the Middle East. Turkish membership of the European Union has a variety of political implications. Turkey's contribution to the EU's security and defense policy would bring numerous benefits through Turkey's military capabilities and the positive role it could play in its neighboring vicinity: the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Caspian area and the Middle East.

Turkey's military capabilities are vital for operations in the expanded European security area. Turkey's strategic geographical location, its large Muslim population and assets make it an important powerful player and will add to the already complex set of alliances and foreign policy combinations that are possible. Turkey's entry to the EU will shift the Union's borders to the southeast and increase the Union's range of interests in these complex regions.

The main immediate threats to European security come from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, areas adjacent to Turkey. The EU's fight against the proliferation of WMD, terrorism and drug trafficking, will have to include Turkey diplomatic ties and experience with those problems. With the Turkish neighborhood extending deeper into the southeastern periphery, the EU and Turkey may have convergent interests in some of the neighboring regions, but there are equally a number of areas where interests may part.

Overall, one may argue EU and Turkey are foreign policy actors with several affinities, as far as the Middle East agenda is concerned. The Turkish Foreign Minister has argued that Turkish foreign policy had been unbalanced, with an overemphasis on ties with Western Europe and the United States to the neglect of Turkey's interests with other countries, particularly in the Middle East Taspinar: , This diversification, as Larrabee points out, "is on the whole healthy, and should be no cause for alarm. On the contrary, Ankara's strong ties to the Middle East can be an asset for the West as Turkey can serve as a bridge to the Middle East.

Turkey is working to position itself as a key regional partner, mediator and interlocutor in the Middle East and is in line with the AKP's "neo-Ottomanism" philosophy. Turkey's bid is part of a larger plan to improve its relations with neighbours and take full advantage of its location and historical ties. Turkey's policy focus is somewhat more multi-regional in focus than before Ferguson: , 3. It is already now playing a new role as mediator and powerbroker in the Middle East, namely in Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Iraq.

Turkey's multidimensional foreign policy Abramowitz and Barkey: , 5 , does not preclude the maintenance of the EU and the United States as key partners in Turkey's new Eurasian roles Ferguson: , 3 Given its location, Turkey has strong regional interests, but they not translate automatically into a pretension to be a major player on all its areas of vicinity. It has turned its face toward the Middle East and Arab countries, although, as of yet, there is not a clear vision of Turkey's real influence in the region.

As a close neighbor with historical ties to the region, Turkey can act as a useful interlocutor, especially at a time when U. Rather than a "bridge" or a "buffer zone", some analysts suggest that Turkey can and would act to some extent as an interpreter or translator for the EU with the Middle East, in the sense that it could advocate EU's interests in the region. Turkey could play a leading role in resolving political conflicts; boosting economic cooperation and investment within the region; and supporting political, economic, and social reforms.

As the most democratic Muslim country in the Middle East, one with rich experience dealing with and adapting to Western institutions, Turkey is the best-suited Middle Eastern country to lead the effort to advance regional stability and development. Advocates of of Turkey's membership in the EU say the EU and the international community should support Turkey in this role. Turkey's growing political ties with Iran are an asset for the EU as it seeks to expand its influence and to find a diplomatic solution to the international stand-off over Iran's nuclear program. The access of AKP leaders to Iranian leaders, should strengthen the arguments that Turkey is in a position to persuade the Iranian leaders not to defy the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency and risk international sanctions and reproval.

The improvements in the Turkey-Syria relationship takes place as the EU is negotiating an Association Agreement with Damascus and amidst a great interest the Syrians have demonstrated in getting closer to the EU. Turkey and the EU should work together closely to draw Syria into a wider net of international cooperation and reciprocal obligations. Damascus sorely needs to break its diplomatic isolation. The EU can offer trade, know-how, technology, and investment, all of which the Syrian enconomy is in desperate need. Turkey's relatively constructive relationship with Israel, although undergoing a thawing, could benefit the EU.

Since the beginning, the relations between EU and Turkey changed depending on the international balance of power. It is clear how all the global issues since the end of World War II, influenced the perception of this country that is basically the bridge which can or cannot connect the Western World to the Middle East as well as to Caucasian countries. At the time of the European Concert in , the Ottoman Empire was part of the discussion, but after the disruption, France and United Kingdom were thinking of how to split the territories among themselves.

The Turkish history, since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire , has always been oriented in order to pursue a Europeanization or Westernization of the country. For this reason, at the end of World War II we can see an inclusion of this country in some of the main international organizations, led by the US or at least under the west sphere of influence.

The Influence of the European Union on Turkish Foreign Policy – By Ozlem Terzi

In order to develop our analysis on the change of the role and the ties between EU and Turkey, it is useful to have a timeline by which framing all the events. As shown in Figure 1, the ties with the EU cover different fields. In the the official Association Agreement — better known under the name of Ankara Agreement — was signed. One of the crucial elements of this agreement was the possibility for Turkey to trade goods and agricultural products without restrictions.

Foreign relations of Turkey

The Ankara agreement pushed for the Turkish government to foster the modernization of the country in order to reduce the disparities of standard lifestyle comparing to the one in the Community. Moreover, some years later, in , the nature of the Community changed radically with the Maastricht Treaty. For this reason, only in the Union declared Turkey an eligible country for full membership in the new European Union [5].

Meanwhile, the procedures for the Custom Union started in and took effect in In order to achieve the status of full member of the EU there are some essential criteria needed to be accomplished, commonly known as Copenhagen criteria, formalised in The criteria are declined as follows:. An analysis of the capacity of the European Union institutions that monitor the enforcement of compliance with European Union policy goals, strategies and outcomes in member states. Comparsion of local and national elections and elections for the European Parliament.

Transformation of state-society relations. Evolution of individual rights and participatory mechanisms. Formation and dissemination of a civic culture and democratic social values. Emergence of new social movements, new political ideologies and nongovernmental organizations. The allocation of the funds and investments among the national, regional and local authorities. Regional disparities and the impact of the regional development programs. The relations between central and local governments and the policies of decentralization and devolution of power.

Foreign relations of Turkey - Wikipedia

Legal aspects of the enlargament process with an emphasis on the decisions of the European Union institutions on the issue of enlargement, association treatises between the European Union and the candidate states, and accession partnerships and national programs. Public opinion in the member and candidate states regarding enlargement. Social, economic, political and cultural changes in the candidate states in the process of integration with the European Union. The impact of enlargement on the European Union and the impending institutional reforms to accommodate new members. The subjects include government-business ties, the role of labor and business organizations, regulation, privatization and the politics of economic policy-making.

The European Union's role in the World Trade Organization, the role of the euro in the global financial markets, and the dynamics of the European Union companies in the global production networks. Issues related to jurisdiction and enforcement. The issue of Westernization and Europeanization as a dividing line in Turkish society and polity, with an emphasis on the recent debates regarding the influences of European integration on Turkish national sovereignty and national values.

European perceptions of Turkey and Turkish culture. Comparative historical and institutional analysis of state-religion relations, Christian democratic parties, and Islamic movements in selected countries. Problems of religion and secularism in Turkey's accession to the European Union. Consequences of European colonialism in the emergence of the modern Middle East. Islamic movements, Arab nationalism, and problems of democratization in the Middle East.

Formation and expression of dissenting perspectives through alternative media. Socio-political consequences of new communication technologies. Challenges and threats to global peace and security. Causes of conflict and violence and the ways to resolve, manage, and control both violent and nonviolent conflicts in the world.

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The theory of optimum currency areas. Incomplete monetary unions and the European Monetary System. Transition to a monetary union in Europe.

Angus Lapsley - Future of the European Union and Turkish-EU Relations

Monetary and fiscal policies in a monetary union with special reference to the European Union. The structure and operations of the European Central Bank. Other financial institutions. Structure of equity markets and debt. Regulation of the financial system. The globalization of financial markets.