Diba Nigar Goksel
In this issue, Turkish Policy Quarterly takes a look at various flash points in Turkey's neighborhood, including Iran, Sudan, Abkhazia, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Turkey's involvement in democratization struggles in the region is another theme examined in this issue of TPQ. Conflict zones aside, Turkey's impact on the spread of ideas in its neighborhood is on the rise. Nevertheless, the attention span, level of involvement and commitment of Turkish intellectuals and NGOs in democratization and governance debates in these countries falls short of its potential.
Entering its ninth year of publication, this issue of TPQ marks the start of a renewed and more colorful façade. This new image also reflects the fresh dynamism and energy in our expanding team. In addition, we enter 2010 with exciting plans for a series of roundtables scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Ankara, Brussels and Washington DC with the support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation. You can now follow TPQ on social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well, while a more interactive TPQ website is in the works. We look forward to hearing more from our readers including both their ideas about policy issues as well as feedback to TPQ articles via these platforms in the months ahead.
This article elaborates upon Turkey's foreign policy with a specific focus on relations with Iran. Turkish foreign policy is predicated on its unique historical experience and geography which endows it with an added sense of responsibility which Turkish policy makers must acknowledge and wholeheartedly embrace. Accordingly, Turkish policymakers are trying to overcome differences between countries in conflict through confidence-building measures and by acting as a mediator and facilitator to find solutions to chronic regional problems. And within this process, a particular importance is attached to the Middle East and to Iran.
The IAEA Board, despite Turkey's abstention, has reported its latest concerns to the Security Council. The time has come for the Security Council to take action in the form of increased sanctions. Turkey has troubled experience with international sanctions. Yet as a member of the Security Council, Turkey must assume its responsibilities. If Turkey wishes diplomacy to succeed, it must join in a unified effort to present Iran's leaders with a clear choice between serious negotiations and serious sanctions. Turkey cannot abstain when nuclear dangers mount within range of a Shahab 3 missile.
Turkey is emerging as a global leader, but its inconsistent behavior clashes with principles of true democracy. Turkey's human and democratic development lags and Turkey is creating new problems with friends, not "no problems" with neighbors. While Turkey decried the suffering in Gaza, it defended Sudan's president against war crimes charges. While it combated anti democratic behavior domestically, it quickly congratulated Ahmedinejad for an election victory where political opposition was violently suppressed. The appearance that Turkey is soft on human rights violations committed by Muslims is doing serious damage to its international stature. Turkey's failure to strengthen democracy at home is jeopardizing its EU accession and its people's future. Turkey needs a principled movement for change to carry forward the democratic foundations of the Republic and forge a bright future for its people.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the 22-year civil war, the longest in recent African history, between the North and South Sudan, had its fifth anniversary on January 9. The peace agreement did not solve all of the structural problems, yet it paved the way for a more peaceful and democratic Sudan. The next 12 months will be crucial in determining Sudan's political future. A number of unresolved issues threaten the fragile peace while the elections in April 2010 or the secession referendum in January 2011 could trigger another war. In this light the EU needs to adjust its approach and presence in Sudan both institutionally and politically.
The unresolved conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh is considered the most daunting issue for South Caucasus' security. Since 1994, when a cease-fire was reached between the parties, many attempts have been made to find a political solution to this conflict. Last year's Russia-Georgia war considerably changed the geo-political situation and renewed efforts of regional and nonregional actors to reach a comprehensive solution. The Moscow Declaration signed in the aftermath of the war by the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents is an example of the increasing Russian interest to play a more active and persistent role in this process. At the same time the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia demonstrated again that the current stalemate of any frozen conflict can easily be transformed into a new cycle of violence. Therefore the EU and the United States are more interested in resolving this conflict, now especially taking into consideration the geo-strategic and geo-economic parameters of the Caspian region. In this context Turkey, as a transit energy country, has a beneficial impact on the whole region, serving as a bridge to the West through its unique location. Supported by the U.S. and the EU, Turkey is trying to strengthen its political and economic influence in the South Caucasus and is attempting to transform its relations with Armenia.
After the Ukrainian presidential elections, Victor Yankovych's "blue" team came to power. The defragmented "orange" camp has now been pushed to the opposition. Although the potential of the Orange Revolution was not fully utilized, its legacy still remains The objection by the old member states along with the Western fear of Kremlin's reaction, eliminated the use of the best "carrot", which has so far worked well in accelerating the transformation of Central European countries, i.e., the offer of EU membership. The internal reasons for such objections are a lack of consensus between the main political factions in Ukraine, corruption, stagnation and suspension of necessary reforms which have resulted in the birth of the "Ukrainian fatigue" syndrome of the West. On the other hand, the parallel syndrome of an"EU fatigue" has increased Ukraine's frustration resulted in awarding munitions to the supporters of the "pragmatic" approach that is advocated by the Party of Regions.
Burcu Gültekin Punsmann
There is a pressing need for engagement policies towards Abkhazia andl for pragmatic approaches to open up channels of communication for people and trade. Georgia has a stake in a policy of pro-active engagement with Abkhazia. Past efforts at isolating Abkhazia politically and economically had not gotten Georgia any further in negotiations. Turkey can play a major role in overcoming the isolation of Abkhazia. However it is unthinkable that Turkey unilaterally decide to resume direct transportation links with Abkhazia. The connection has to be legalized, or at least formalized. Pragmatism and willingness to cooperate should guide Georgian and Turkish efforts to resume communications to and across Abkhazia.
Murad Ismayilov and Michael Tkacik
This article examines the interaction among education, national identity, and external players attempting to influence post-Soviet Azerbaijan. The authors argue that in the circumstances surrounding transition, education became a major political tool for outside powers to advocate their own political philosophy among Azerbaijanis. It is argued that the policies of the U.S., Europe, Russia, and Turkey to provide education opportunities to Azerbaijanis in hopes of affecting Azerbaijani society resulted in a stratification of Azerbaijani civil society, which in the short to medium-term hinders the democratization process with which the country is currently struggling, and in the long run may induce potentially profound conflicts of interests among the various domestic groups.
By referring to the great French novelist Marcel Proust's novel -A la Recherche du Temps Perdu/In search of Lost Time- this article argues that Turkey is in search of lost time regarding its energy politics. Indeed, contrary to the Cold War period, Turkey does not hesitate to emphasize the importance of its geographical location through diverse energy projects. But what is notable is that although these diverse projects give the opportunity of multi-dimensional engagement, this same diversity may cause troubles down the line.
Since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) assumed office in November 2002, its quite unprecedented foreign policy practices, both in substance and in style, have incited a general debate over the proper explication of the defining characteristics of this "new" foreign policy, and especially its sources. This article argues that, first, the essential parameter of the AKP foreign policy is the peculiar foreign policy conception of the AKP policymakers. Second, the AKP foreign policy is a synthetic practice of traditional politics with non-traditional means. This new policy heralds a return to the traditional balance of power politics with substantial emphasis on non-traditional aspects of foreign policy.
Yonca Poyraz Doğan
The international community hailed last year's October 10 signing of protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations and the development of bilateral ties between Turkey and Armenia as a turning point, but all were aware that the road to normalization would not be smooth, and the hurdles on the way demonstrate just that. Difficulties arise partly from the complicated nature of the problem since Turkey closed the border in solidarity with Azerbaijan when Armenia took control of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave following a war with Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. If the involved parties leave the situation to its course, the relations, stuck at a standoff, will soon be deadlocked.
The international business community has long praised Turkey as an economic powerhouse, however a certain je ne sais quoi keeps it from fully entering the club of emerging nations with high growth potentials in the coming years. Yet, while multinational Turkish companies show great confidence within their comfort zone they tend to adopt a lower profile in more established marketplaces in, for example, Europe and the US. Why does the Turkish example -where business fundamentals are sound and economic resilience a reality- receive only cursory attention in the countless reports analyzing swift recovering in the developing world? This article argues that it is due to a lack of business diplomacy and economic reputation.
This article is a general review of the recent developments concerning the legitimacy of the Iranian government, nuclear proliferation in the international context and human rights violations. Politics, economics, geography and demography of Azerbaijan and particularly the region commonly referred to as 'South Azerbaijan' within the Islamic Republic of Iran, are analyzed through a historical perspective. The role of South Azerbaijan in promoting human rights, democracy, and peace and in mitigating regional and international tensions are studied.
This article reviews the roundtable discussion organized by Turkish Policy Quarterly and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on Turkish-Israeli relations, which took place on 11 March 2010 in Istanbul. In light of the discussions, the author evaluates the current state of affairs between Turkey and Israel from three different perspectives: the constitutive role of fear in relations, the emphasis on change, and problems with conceptualization. Due to Chatham House rules, the names of the participants whose words have been cited or paraphrased will remain undisclosed.