Zero Problems? Time for a New Policy Narrative, Spring 2011
The uprisings in the Middle East have prompted important questions about the future role of Turkey in the region as well as on the state of play at home. While Turkey has been presented as an inspiration or a model, not in the least by Turkey itself, there is little proof to back the relevance of this claim. The Arab spring rather exposes a number of problems for Turkey's foreign policy. The “zero problems with neighbors” doctrine is primarily interest driven, and based on the goal of stability in the region. The Arab street's call for freedom and human dignity call for a new orientation focused on values and prompt questions about the respect for fundamental rights in Turkey itself. Both Turkey's foreign and domestic policies should be rooted in fundamental rights of citizens. With the upcoming elections as a decisive moment for Turkey's future, it is time to define an explicit point on the horizon. A Turkey in which fundamental rights are guaranteed is a better partner and example for all its neighbors.