Turkish Policy Quarterly Vol 8, No. 3 (Fall 2009)
"Turkey and the EU: Soft Power Synergy"

Nigar Göksel

Nigar Göksel
ESI Senior Analyst

From the desk of the editor

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Ahmet Davutoğlu

Ahmet Davutoğlu
Ahmet Davutoğlu is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.

While Turkey pursues a policy of constructive engagement in its neighborhood and beyond, full integration with the EU is and will remain the priority. Membership in the EU is Turkey's strategic choice and this objective is one of the most important projects of the Republican era. With the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, Europe will undertake new responsibilities on a global scale. European leaders now have a chance to demonstrate their resolve in preparing the EU for the challenges of the 21st century, both internally and, even more decisively on the global stage.

TPQ-article: "Turkish Foreign Policy and the EU in 2010'"

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Interview with Carl Bildt
Carl Bildt is Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Kingdom of Sweden.

In this exclusive interview for Turkish Policy Quarterly, as the Swedish Presidency draws to an end, Foreign Minister Bildt assesses the trends in Turkey's relations with the European Union.

TPQ-article: "Interview: The EU, Turkey, and Neighbors beyond"

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Tuncay Babalı

Tuncay Babalı
Tuncay Babalı holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Houston and MA in international studies and diplomacy from the University of London (SOAS). He is currently a fellow at the Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Negative statements and actions by EU leaders have played a key role in discouraging Turkey. Turkey's recent activism in the Middle East, which is widely misread as a departure from the West is certainly encouraged by the frustrations with the EU. From this vantage point, it is healthier to interpret the dramatically deepened and broadened economic and energy relations between Turkey and Iran (and Russia) in recent weeks and months as Turkey's way of saying "I am here, important and relevant for your policies more than you think!"

TPQ-article: "Losing Turkey or strategic blindness?"

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Efraim Inbar

Efraim Inbar
Efraim Inbar is a Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and the Director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies, Israel.

Surveying the escalation of tensions between Turkey and Israel in recent years, the author argues that the substance and tone of the relationship in the 1990s will likely not be restored, however predicts that both sides will consider it in their respective interests to sustain the present level of diplomatic and economic relations. The author also presents an overview of the policies of the Turkish government in its neighborhood, concluding that balances of power in both the Caucasus and the Middle East are shifting as a result of Turkey's moves, with consequences for the global geopolitical dynamics.

TPQ-article: "Israeli-Turkish tensions and beyond"

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Robert J. Lieber

Robert J. Lieber
Robert J. Lieber is Professor of Government and International Affairs at Georgetown University.

Questions about America's standing in the world have stimulated a number of studies. The most recent of these, based on the concern that America's reputation in the world had "declined dramatically" in the past decade, was undertaken by a study group appointed by the American Political Science Association (APSA). This essay provides an overview of various dimensions and implications of this study. It also points out that recent evidence concerning public opinion in Turkey provides evidence that attitudes toward the United States are determined far more by what the U.S. represents than by what it does.

TPQ-article: "America's reputation in the age of Obama: does it depend on what the U.S. is or what it does?"

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Andrey S. Makarychev

Andrey S. Makarychev
Andrey S. Makarychev is Professor of International Relations, Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University, Russia.

The Black Sea Region is between two competing spatial orders, that of the EU/Europe and that of Russia/CIS. A "counter-coalition to Russia" is being formed in this region. It is an academic truism to speculate about "fuzzy borders" of the EU; yet the contours and shapes of Russian spatial order are also not that simple. The ambiguity stems from numerous nationalist voices in Russia questioning the belonging of Crimea to Ukraine, as well as from the existence of sizeable communities of Russian citizens in Transnistria, Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia. The closer EU and Russia get to each other geographically, the more conflictual the relations between them tend to become. If the coalition against Russia is successful, it might lift Ukraine to the status of regional power and, conversely, drag Russia down from the level of great power to that of regional power. Under this scenario, the idea of a Moscow-led "second, non-Western Europe" (to include Russia itself along with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and even some Balkan countries) advocated by some Russian intellectuals, will definitely fail.

TPQ-article: "Russia's perceptions of Black Sea regionalism"

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Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı

Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı
Özgür Ünlühisarcıklı is the director of German Marshall Fund of the United States' office in Ankara, Turkey.

Turkey has been pursuing a new foreign policy which aims to transform Turkey into a regional soft power. Though the increased economic links and momentum in overcoming deadlocks between Turkey and its neighbors has received praise, criticism and questions have also been raised. Cooperation between the EU (the ENP) and Turkey in the overlapping neighborhood would allow Turkey to circumvent the criticism and allow the EU to have a more effective neighborhood policy. The EU has advantages such as conditionality that Turkey does not, while Turkey has, among other things, cultural proximity that aides the establishment of trust. The EU and Turkey can create synergy with their complementary strengths. This however is prevented by both suspended chapters and negative rhetoric coming from the political leadership of some EU countries, and the fact that Turkey is not prioritizing EU accession as in 2000-2005.

TPQ-article: "EU, Turkey and Neighborhood Policies"

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Mark Meirowitz

Mark Meirowitz
Mark Meirowitz holds a doctorate in Politics and teaches undergraduate courses in Politics, History and Law at various colleges in the New York City metropolitan area. He is also a business lawyer in New York.

President Obama's policies of engagement with other countries and Turkey's Foreign Minister Davutoğlu's approach to solving Turkey's regional issues are both examples of the use of "soft power" to resolve disputes. At first blush, Turkey's policy goals would appear to be compatible with those of the United States. However, recent developments appear to demonstrate that Turkey is turning away from America and the West. Moreover, while Turkey has made some inroads with respect to a number of regional disputes, it is hard to imagine that soft power alone will achieve "zero problems" with Turkey's neighbors.

TPQ-article: "Obama's and Davutoğlu's future visions: compatible, contradictory or phantasm?"

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Maria Beat
Maria Beat is an international journalist and writer, focusing on developments in CIS countries. Currently she is affiliated with the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Organization, BSEC.

This article focuses on current Turkish-Russian relations which have been propelled by intensified energy cooperation. It draws attention to both the Turkish and the Russian foreign policy approaches that have changed significantly in the past decade, increasing both countries' leverage in regional affairs, including the Caucasus. The process of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement is analyzed, with a view to its potential implications for the prospective regional energy projects in the context of the Turkish-Armenian and Russian-Armenian bilateral relations.

TPQ-article: "Turkey and Russia meet in the Caucasus"

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Andreas Breitegger

Andreas Breitegger
Andreas Breitegger is a graduate student at the University of Vienna.

Governments on both sides of the Atlantic have been struggling to find an appropriate response to the tide of events following the recent elections in Iran. Turkey's neutral approach and its decision not to mingle in Iran's internal affairs have led to renewed interest in the nature of Turkish-Iranian relations and in the question, what position Turkey actually takes on important issues such as the Iranian nuclear program. This article seeks to illuminate the different facets of the economic, political and cultural dimensions of Turkish-Iranian relations and to uncover the underlying strategic issues that ultimately drive Turkish foreign policy considerations with regard to Iran.

TPQ-article: "Turkish - Iranian relations: a reality check"

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Adam Szymanski
Adam Szymanski holds a Ph.D. and works at the Polish Institute of International Affairs as well as in the Institute of Political Science, University of Warsaw.

The supporters of the EU membership of Turkey argue that this state can help the Union become a global player, among other reasons thanks to its capacity as "facilitator" in the resolution of regional conflicts, especially in the Middle East and South Caucasus. This article is a critical analysis of this argument. The author agrees that Turkey after the accession would help the EU in conflict resolution, however only to a certain extent. Turkey would have to counteract long and short term domestic and regional problems as well as the EU's weaknesses as an international actor.

TPQ-article: "Turkey's potential added value to the EU: resolution of regional conflicts"

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