April 26, 2012

Why are Turkey's ruling party leaders struggling in developing a consistent, enduring Middle East policy?

    Thursday, April 26, 2012   No comments

Ahmet Davutoğlu
On Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu responded to opposition parties’ members of parliament who accused the government of war mongering on Syria. 

“A new Middle East is emerging and we will continue to lead this. Turkey will pioneer this order of peace. … The Turkish people of 74 million are with the Syrian people and will continue to be so… Those who side with dictatorial regimes instead of the people of the Middle East cannot understand our policies. … We stand by people, not minority dictatorships,” Davutoğlu responded.

“What should be said first on Syria is that the Syrian administration is responsible for the current situation in Syria. The culprit is the Baath regime, which orders shooting at people who took to the streets with demands for freedom. … We support the valid demands of the Syrian people, regardless of their religion, sect and ethnicity,” Davutoğlu said.


The engineer of the zero conflict with Turkey’s neighbor policy is now promoting direct involvement in the conflicts of the region after struggling to find a comfortable position when the Arab Spring first started. 

For instance, Turkey’s government refused to support Europe and NATO in their campaign to remove Qaddafi from power in Libya. Turkish leaders also struggled to articulate a clear position regarding the Egyptian revolution when it first started. In order to make up for those delayed reactions, Turkey’s ruling leaders are now overreacting. They did not study the various actors involved in the Syrian crisis and they ended up siding with two of the least democratic regimes of the Arab world: Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Such a company Turkish leaders are keeping highlights the contradictions in Turkey’s Middle East policy. 

On the one hand, the ruling party claims that they are supporting popular revolutions regardless of sect and ethnicity of the revolting people. But they remain silent about the demands for change in Bahrain—where the uprising preceded the Syrian one until it was crushed by the Saudi military that came to the aid of the minority-run government there. That casts doubt about their sectarian neutrality.  Turkey’s ongoing conflict with the Kurds also challenges their claim to ethnic neutrality.



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