Turkey’s Role in Middle East and Gulf Security



The author has compared contours of Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East before and after the Arab spring. After the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., Turkey supported logistically the American onslaught in Afghanistan in 2001, followed by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was an uncertain decision by Turkish foreign policymakers because on one side public sentiments were against the U.S. intervention in the Middle East, while on the other side is a member of NATO, Turkey, carried some obligations on its shoulders. Moreover, the Turkish public opinion was reflected during the Iraqi offensive by the U.S. when the Grand National Assembly of Turkey rejected a motion to allow foreign troops to use its land. Therefore, the Arab World revisited their hostile attitudes regarding Turkey after 2003. Meanwhile, the AK Party government had tenuous relations with the Western world particularly the U.S. but simultaneously it has become popular across the Middle East. Furthermore, during the Arab Spring, the Arab masses revolted against the tyrannical regimes while focusing on the Turkish model of democracy. The same sentiments were reflected by Ankara when it developed close ties with the government of Morsi in Egypt. Although Turkey had to face hostility from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, it continued its political and moral support for the Muslim Brotherhood and boycotted the Sisi regime. The author concludes that the Gulf States resentment of Turkey, with the exception of Qatar, and its fragile relations with the U.S., are pushing it to find new regional and international alliances including with Iran and Russia.


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