Turkish Policy Quarterly Vol 7, No. 3 (Fall 2008)
"Turkey's pivotal role in an uncertain era"

Nigar Göksel

Nigar Göksel
ESI Senior Analyst

From the desk of the editor

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Mehmet Ali Talat

Mehmet Ali Talat
Mehmet Ali Talat is President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish foreign policy makers thread a thin, delicate line in a series of important regional and transnational issues – such as the Russia-Georgia dispute, the Middle East conflict, the Cyprus question, or Iran's nuclear program. Moreover, the world economic crisis is likely to compound the severity of political conflicts. So long as one follows a policy without having to make hard choices, one can play for time and avoid the necessity of taking sides. However, especially as issues are voted upon in the UNSC, Turkey will increasingly find itself in a position where it will have to make clear preferences in favor of one or the other party.

TPQ-article: "Cyprus should not miss what may be the last chance for unification and a common future"

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Justin Lin

Justin Lin
Justin Lin is Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Financing for development is no longer about the old paradigm of aid dependency or charity, or about the North teaching the South. It is about an investment in a stable and inclusive future. That requires including new voices at the table, boosting South-South partnerships, and accepting that the North must learn to learn from the South. Today, as the world economy is buffeted by the worst financial crisis seen in decades, a crisis that entails grave implications for developing countries and threatens to undo the hard-won gains in growth and development of the past years, the world needs international economic cooperation even more.

TPQ-article: "The developing world and the financial crisis"

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Nirj Deva

Nirj Deva
Nirj Deva is a member of European Parliament for South East England.

Nirj Deva summarizes the successes of Turkey's modernization and democratization project, identifies the key areas which make Turkey indispensible to Europe, and finally points to Turkey's shortcomings in promoting its strengths. He also emphasizes that European perception of Turkey is shaped more so by class-related issues than socio-cultural and religious factors.

TPQ-article: "Turkey: A success in modernization, a failure in self-promotion"

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Richard Giragosian

Richard Giragosian
Richard Giragosian is a Washington-based analyst specializing in international relations, with a focus on economics, security and political developments in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

In order to prepare for a new chapter in Turkish-American relations, it is essential to assess the incoming Obama Administration and to objectively analyze the implications for Turkey. The selection of the new Obama cabinet reveals a great deal concerning indications of the main people and policies that will come to drive and define Turkish-American relations. As the preliminary signs from the incoming Obama Administration suggest, Turkey will only benefit from the pronounced background on Turkish issues among Obama's main security decisionmakers. Most significantly, the broader opportunity for a fresh start in Turkish- U.S. relations will only be bolstered by the Obama team's recognition of Turkey's geopolitical role as a rising regional power.

TPQ-article: "The Incoming Obama Administration: Implications For Turkey"

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Ali Günertem

Ali Günertem
Ali Günertem is a political writer for the first New York based Turkish American magazine, TurkofAmerica.

The enlargement of Western institutions and the incorporation of regions in between has been defined by the desire of those regions to shed their 'in between-ness'. Despite resistance from Russia and Western Europe, this momentum will likely continue. The West's premier institutions, the EU and NATO, with an open mind towards involving Russia, would do well to positively engage in the geopolitics of shifting frontiers.

TPQ-article: "Election Strategy For Turkish-American Voters"

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Barcin Yinanc

Barcin Yinanc
Barcin Yinanc is managing editor of Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review.

The Russia-Georgia war, which sent shock waves across Europe, impacted regional geostrategic and energy calculations. Regarding gas policies, it not only increased the political engagement of the EU but also led to a readjustment in the Turkish, Azeri and Turkmen positions. In addition, the global economic crisis a d the fall in oil prices might hamper Russia's "petroconfidence", and its assertive policies. Although recent developments seem to have played into the hands of Turkey, it remains to be seen how Turkey's aspirations to be a key player in global energy will unfold.

TPQ-article: "Turkey in the unfolding new chapter of the big energy game"

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Ihsan Kiziltan
Ihsan Kızıltan is a Counselor at the Embassy of Turkey in Washington D.C.

As recent events in Georgia demonstrate, the Euro-Atlantic security environment remains complex and subject to unforeseeable developments. Ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as possible future crises put a premium on close cooperation between NATO and the EU. Yet, relations between the two organizations have been stymied from the beginning by political and institutional tensions, including those raised by the admission of the Greek Cypriots into the EU and those concerning the participation of non-EU allies such as Turkey in ESDP. Institutional flexibility on the part of the EU could help resolve these obstacles and create greater synergy between NATO and the EU.

TPQ-article: "Improving the NATO-EU partnership: A Turkish perspective"

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Michal Thim

Michal Thim
Michal Thim is the director of the Research Center at Association for International Affairs (Asociace pro mezinárodní otázky, AMO), Czech Republic.

The European Union sees itself as an advocate of the "soft power" approach in its external relations. The author argues that, due to the presence of an increasingly assertive Russia in the Black Sea region, this policy is no longer sustainable. The urgent need for a common stance towards Russia – but not to be confused with a stance against Russia – is not the author's wishful thinking but is rather a necessity unless the EU is ready to withdraw as an actor from its Eastern neighborhood. The sooner the EU realizes the need to integrate more "hard power" components in its strategy, the more it will be able to adequately confront the current challenges in the Black Sea region.

TPQ-article: "Quest for hard power: the European Union and the black sea region after the Russia-Georgia war"

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Nicholas Danforth

Nicholas Danforth
Nicholas Danforth is the editor of the Turkey page at the Project on Middle East Democracy, Washington DC.

Observers who interpret Turkish foreign policy through the lens of an ideological debate between the country's Eastern and Western identities have often overlooked the pragmatic motives that shaped policy decisions. In formulating their approaches toward Europe and the Middle East, Turkish leaders have seldom been influenced by the ideologies that determine their domestic politics. Understood in context, Atatürk's disengagement from the Middle East and the AKP's re-engagement with the region were both practical responses to strategic realities.

TPQ-article: "Ideology and pragmatism in Turkish foreign policy: From ATATURK to the AKP"

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Fariz Ismailzade

Fariz Ismailzade
Fariz Ismailzade director of advanced Foreign Service Program of ADA ( Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy).

Pointing out the pros and cons of the Moscow Declaration for both Armenia and Azerbaijan, the author argues that the interests of Russia have shifted post August war (with Georgia) and that this may be the determinant of whether a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is in fact feasible. Acknowledging the hurdle of domestic opposition in Armenia and countering the view that Azerbaijan is eager to use force, the author states that the Moscow Declaration is not a breakthrough but does have symbolic implications.

TPQ-article: "Moscow declaration on Nagorno-Karabakh: A view from Baku"

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Asli Bilge
Aslı Bilge is a PhD candidate at Marmara University, European Community Institute and a faculty member at Yeditepe University, Political Science and International Relations department.

The Moscow Patriarchate and the Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarchate are both transnational actors that have a claim of leadership over World Orthodoxy. The Post-Soviet era brought new challenges to both churches and specific goals: to maintain the integrity of their canonical territory and to gain influence within the Orthodox Church. This article examines the uneasy relation of Istanbul and Moscow under the leadership of two dynamic church leaders Bartholomeos I and Alexei II with special reference to the crisis over Estonia and Ukraine.

TPQ-article: "Moscow and Greek orthodox patriarchates: two actors for the leadership of world orthodoxy in the post cold war era"

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Ceren Zeynep Ak

Ceren Zeynep Ak
Ceren Zeynep Ak is project assistant at TESEV Foreign Policy Program and also works as project assistant at Global Political Trends Center (GPoT), Istanbul Kültür University.

Although, for centuries, we have witnessed different forms of nationalism, we cannot deny the fact that the international community lacked the necessary pace to form the instruments that would provide the protection of national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities. The minority rights literature talks only about these minorities as being subjected to certain policies that are restrictive or violating basic human rights. Despite the existence of such oppressive policies, minority groups ironically exert similar hegemonic policies to the minority groups that exist within themselves. This paper takes a general approach to the identity formation process and examines the creation of the "Self" and the "Other" and its reflections within the minority group itself.

TPQ-article: "Minorities within minorities: between the 'self' and the 'other'"

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