The Atlanticist Legacy
The Republic of Turkey was established in 1923 as a ‘Turkey for the Turks’ and as a sovereign entity that rejected its Ottoman past. Ataturk asserted that ‘the new Turkey has absolutely no relation with the old Turkey. The old Ottoman state has gone down in history. Now, a new Turkey is born’. Ataturk, who shepherded the new Turkey until his death in 1938, focused on recognition and consolidation of the new entity, an entity that was to be modern and western in its orientation. Ideology and pragmatism guided the approach, as the emphasis was naturally on building a modern state and avoiding entanglements and adventurism that could not have been sustained. Circumspect as it remained after Ataturk’s death, for various reasons Turkey was neutral for most of World War II, throwing in its lot with the Allies only towards the end of the war in February 1945.
Although westward-looking, Ataturk was practical enough to seek Soviet support during the Turkish war of independence and later, in 1925, entered into a ten-year ‘treaty of friendship and neutrality’ with the USSR that was extended for another ten years in 1935. Tensions mounted between Turkey and the Soviet Union when the latter withdrew from the treaty in 1945 and made territorial claims in eastern Turkey besides demanding rights in the Turkish Straits. Under pressure from Stalin, Turkey anchored itself to NATO in 1952 and then CENTO in 1955. Turkey thus entered the Western camp and, by virtue of its geostrategic location, became an important part of the NATO security architecture. However, frustrated with the Western position on the Cyprus issue and its disputes with Greece, Turkey attempted to maintain a degree of balance and even signed a Friendship Agreement with the Soviet Union in 1978.
Turgut Ozal – Shift to Neo-Ottomanism
The Turgut Ozal era (Prime Minister from 1983 to 1989 and President from 1989 to 1993) heralded changes in Turkey’s vision and approach. Ozal challenged several ingrained Kemalist tenets. Ataturk believed that ‘Turks always went towards the West and would continue in that direction’. Ozal’s vision was of a Turkey that should combine westernization with its cultural Turkish and Islamic roots. As Ozal put it, ‘we are an Islamic country. We have differences from the West…We are the bridge between the West and the East. We need to take the science, technology, thinking understanding and compromise of the West. But we have also our own values that the West does not have’. Ozal held that the Kemalist foreign policy approach was excessively cautious and was critical of the policy pursued during World War II. His view was that Turkey’s foreign policy needed to be an instrument to extend “the weight of Turkish trade and political power”. So, while on the one hand Ozal applied for full membership of the European Union, he began a more active engagement with the Arab world and the neighbouring countries. Lying in its proximity, these represented natural markets for Turkish industry and the economic reforms introduced by Ozal drove Turkey to become proactively engaged in its neighbourhood. Similar impulses guided initiatives such as the Economic Cooperation Organization and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. The disintegration of the USSR brought the Balkans and Central Asia into focus. Turkey even dreamt of extending its influence from the Adriatic to Central Asia! Ozal also joined the US-led coalition during the Gulf War, thus demonstrating that Turkey was pursuing an active foreign policy to its east in political and military terms as well. This was also evident when Turkey exerted military pressure on Syria to expel Abdullah Ocalan.
As an adviser of his observed, Ozal initiated a neo-Ottomanist policy. The policy was a product of Ozal’s ideological beliefas much as it was borne out of confidence that Turkey had achieved a level of development that now allowed it to play a more forceful role in the region. From a nominal GDP of USD 58 billion in 1980, Turkey’s GDP stood at USD 187 billion in 1997 and, during the same period, exports rose from US$ 2.9 billion to US$ 26.8 billion. Military spending too increased and Turkey sought to build its defence industry by deepening military ties with the United States. The end of the Cold War, the collapse of the USSR, and the Gulf War too were factors at play that enabled Turkey to seek a larger role.
The AK (Justice and Development) Party came to power in 2002 and Turkey’s foreign policy activism became even more pronounced. Ahmet Davutoglu (Erdogan’s key foreign policy adviser who later became Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister) combined Turkey’s Ottoman heritage, its geostrategic location and AKP’s conservative Islamic orientation to enunciate a clearer and coherent strategic vision of Turkey’s foreign policy direction. Davutoglu posited that based on its history and geography, Turkey enjoyed “strategic depth”.Turkey belonged to several regions - Central Asia, the Gulf and the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Turkey, Davutoglu argued, belonged to the category of countries that he described as “central powers”, countries that were placed to exercise influence across geographies and thus play a strategic role at the global plane. To this end, Turkey needed to resolve contentious domestic issues, primarily the Kurdish problem and the domestic ideological divides. Externally, Turkey needed to pursue a zero problem policy with neighbours. Davutoglu rejected criticism that he was articulating a neo-Ottomanist policy. For him, the context was that traditional geographical regions were ‘reemerging in a cultural, political and economic sense’. Full membership of the EU remained on the table, but as one of the priorities. Turkey also presented itself as a moderate Islamic country with an elected government that espoused democracy and free market, which had its own appeal in the aftermath of 9/11.
Turkey’s foreign policy can be viewed in phases in the two decades that AKP has been in power. In the first phase stretching from about 2002 to 2011, Turkey adopted a more cooperative posture. Ties with Syria improved to the extent that Bashar al-Assad visited Turkey in 2009. The two countries agreed to establish a Turkish-Syrian High Level Strategic Cooperation Council to “expand and solidify their cooperation. Turkey tried to bridge differences between Syria and Israel, between the Palestinian factions, and engaged with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG, Iraq and Iran. The Tehran Agreement between Turkey, Iran and Brazil in May 2010 secured Iran’s agreement to swap 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium for fuel rods on Turkish soil. Turkey also presented itself in the role of a bridge between the West and the East. In general, Turkey was seen exercising a benign influence in the region and even though Turkish-Israeli relations became tense after Israel’s offensive in Gaza in 2008 and then deteriorated with the ‘Mavi Marmara’ incident in 2010, within the region Turkey was perceived to be championing the Palestinian cause. Between 2002 and 2010, the share of the Middle East in Turkey’s total exports increased to 16% from 6%, and the total trade volume with the Middle East increased to USD 23.6 billion from USD 3.9 billion. The policy in its economic dimension made ample sense against the backdrop of the rise of the Anatolian business interests and Turkey’s rapid economic growth in the same period. GDP increased three times and exports increased from about USD 36 billion to USD135 billion in 2011. Turkey’s growing economic muscle coupled with the focus on promoting greater trade and economic cooperation with the Middle East also meant that Turkey was inclined to chart a course in the region more independent of the West. The Turkish Grand National Assembly’s ‘no’ vote to logistical support to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Turkey’s position on UN-mandated sanctions against the Iran in June 2010 were pointers in this direction.
Given the AKP’s conservative domestic power base and its ideological leanings, Turkey was also inclined to take up Islamic causes more vigorously and carve its own place in the Islamic world. Turkey embraced and allied itself with forces in the Middle East and Northern Africa that represented political Islam and Islamist militant groups.And, it perceived in the Arab Spring an opportunity to extend its political influence in territories that were once part of the Ottoman Empire as well as to burnish its credentials as a leader in the Islamic world. Turkey supported the movement against Mubarak. President Abdullah Gul visited Egypt soon after Mubarak was ousted and met Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Davutoglu referred to the relationship with Egypt as an “Axis of Democracy”. Erdogan’s visit to Cairo in September 2011 was marked by an air of triumphalism. The delegation included six ministers and 200 businessmen. Several in Turkey came to believe that the protests in the Arab world represented the advent of the ‘Ankara moment’. Ibrahim Kalin, a close aide of Erdogan, told CNN that the objective of the visit was to show support ‘to. the Egyptian people in their struggle to establish a democratic socio-political order based on justice, freedom, transparency and rule of law…values which Turkey has been implementing in its domestic and foreign policy’. Turkey’s economic turn-around under Erdogan added to his image of a popularly elected leader and,for the Muslim world in particular, this was buttressed by his unequivocal support for the Palestinian cause and strong reaction to Israel after the Mavi Marmara incident. Turkey also became more vocal and sharper in its criticism of President Bashar al-Assad and over time committed to removing the Syrian President.
The ‘Ankara moment’ was all too brief. Established regimes in the Gulf became wary of Turkish designs. Turkey began to be viewed as a disruptive force. The collapse of the Arab Spring - especially the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt- frustrated Turkey’s ambitions in the region. Erdogan described developments in Egypt as a coup and referred to Sisi in derogatory terms. The Turkey-Qatar axis too was not viewed kindly and Turkey found itself pitted against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE. On the other hand, Russian and Iranian support for Assad became a sore point in Turkey’s relations with these countries. Turkey also grew frustrated with the US policy in Syria. By mid-2014, the threat posed by Islamic State (IS) and highly radicalized groups such as al-Nusra was very real. Turkey, however, obsessed with removing Assad, was seen to be extending even greater support to radical anti-Assad groups. In October 2014 IS laid siege to the Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria, adjoining the Turkish border. The Kurdish YPG (People’s Defence Units) put up stout resistance and gained Western sympathy and material support. Turkey, on the other hand, maintained that both IS and YPG were terrorist organizations and that there was no difference between PKK and YPG. Turkey closed the border and seemed to wait for Kobane to fall. Eventually, the United States airdropped supplies to the besieged Kurds and discovered in the YPG a force capable of taking on the IS. Turkey was also seen to be turning a blind eye to the westward passage of illegal migrants and refugees through Turkish territory and worse still playing this card to extract concessions from European countries. The spillover of tensions flowing from Turkey’s domestic politics into several European countries added to the difficulties in ties with Europe. Meanwhile, on 24 November 2015 Turkey shot down a Russian fighter aircraft near the Syria-Turkey border. Russia retaliated by announcing a slew of measures against Turkey besides targeting Turkish supported groups in Syria. Thus, by the close of 2015 not only were Turkey’s relations with the traditional Western allies strained, but Turkey also had zero neighbours without problems.
The Erdogan Doctrine
Three developments that occurred in quick succession in 2016 brought about a change in Turkish foreign policy: Davutoglu resigned as Prime Minister in May 2016; Turkey offered an apology of sorts to Russia in the following month; and, Turkey was rocked by a coup attempt in mid-July. Davutoglu’s resignation meant that Erdogan’s views came to influence Turkish foreign policy to an even greater extent and this was particularly significant with respect to the Kurdish issue in both its internal and external dimensions. The second amounted to an admission that while the economic costs imposed by Russia were severe for Turkey, there were also implications of Russian actions on Turkey’s Syria policy. The Western response to the failed coup attempt became an additional point in Erdogan’s list of grievances against Turkey’s traditional allies and one that saw him move towards working more closely with Russia. Turkish scholars have opined that the ‘Erdogan doctrine’ replaced the Davutoglu doctrine. Essentially, the ‘Erdogan doctrine’ represented a more robust, aggressive foreign policy, with Turkey exerting military power not only through proxies but also directly. Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean were glaring examples of the power projection.
Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean
Bashar al-Assad’s successes in Syria and Kurdish militia campaigns against IS forced Turkey to reexamine its stance. With Russian and Iran committed to al-Assad, Turkey could not expect to dislodge al-Assad through proxies or even directly. Alongside, Turkey was alarmed by American assistance to YPG and the prospect of a Kurdish dominated contiguous territorial space along the border with Syria. Following the rapprochement with Russia, Turkey undertook military operations in Syria (Operation Euphrates Shield in August 2016, Operation Olive Branch in January 2018, Operation Peace Spring in October 2019 and Operation Spring Shield in February 2020). These were directed against Kurdish forces along the border with Syria, halting the Syrian Army’s march to Idlib, and preventing the influx of refugees from Syria to Turkey. Turkey has been able to establish its hold over pockets of territory in northern Syria and thereby a measure of influence on eventual outcomes in Syria. The interventions in Syria also came in handy to drum up support domestically among the conservative and nationalistic voters.
Unlike Syria where the Kurdish and the refugee problems had a direct bearing on Turkey’s security concerns, Turkish policy in Libya was guided more by concerns over the fate of Turkish nationals working in Libya and the sizeable Turkish investments in that country. Thus, to begin with, Turkey was a reluctant partner in the NATO operation, favouring instead a political solution to the conflict. While Turkey welcomed the transition process that was started after Gaddafi’s ouster, like the other regional actors in fray in Libya, Turkey also formed alliances with local partners. Given its patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Justice and Construction Party was a natural choice for Turkey. By 2015 there were two main power centers in Libya and, besides competing interests, the fideological and political battle lines between the external patrons of these two power centers were as pronounced as they were in the Middle East. In Tripoli, where the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist elements were dominant, the Government of National Accord (GNA) received support from Turkey and Qatar. The other power center in Tobruk, headed by General Haftar, was supported by UAE and Egypt. Gen Haftar launched a military operation in April 2019 and threatened to take Tripoli. Turkey reacted by extending more assistance to the GNA, providing arms, and transporting or enabling foreign fighters from the Syrian theater to help GNA forces. Turkey however extracted a price. In November 2019, Turkey and the GNA signed a memorandum establishing an EEZ from southwest Turkey to northeast Libya. While this move linked the conflict in Libya with competing claims in the Eastern Mediterranean and disregarded Greek claims in particular, as in Syria, Turkey went a step forward when the Turkish Parliament approved the deployment of troops in Libya in January 2020 and stepped up Turkish military presence and deployment. Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli was effectively halted and repulsed. Haftar’s offensive and the consequent Turkish intervention (and that of other powers) froze the situation on the ground along the Sirte-Jufrah axis – the redline for competing interests - and revived efforts for a political settlement in Libya.
The Libyan conflict complicated the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey bears historical grievances vis a vis the EU in so far as Cyprus is concerned. Over time the Turkish position has hardened and, believing that the EU has not been fair to Turkey and Turkish Cypriots, Turkey has even suggested that the only other alternative to the Cyprus issue is a two state solution. The maritime disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean are also of a long standing nature. Turkey’s positions on the sovereignty of islets, the delimitation of maritime waters and the EEZ and airspace are irreconcilable with those of Greece and Cyprus, with the latter two enjoying EU support. Discoveries of hydrocarbon resources in the waters have compounded the difficulties. Turkey reacted by undertaking exploratory and drilling activities of its own from time to time besides strengthening military presence in the area. Meanwhile, several regional cooperation fora have emerged such as the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, the Philia Forum, and the trilateral talks involving Greece, Israel and Cyprus etc., which Turkey perceives as alliances directed against its interests.
The EU and the United States
Turkish policies in Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean resulted in tensions in the relationship with the EU as an institution and with major European powers such as France. European powers were unhappy with Turkish military operations targeting YPG as also with the use of the refugee issue as a political weapon by Turkey to threaten the EU. The accession talks with EU were frozen and in July 2019 the EU also cancelled meetings of the EU-Turkey Association Council and several high level sectoral dialogue mechanisms. Negotiations on an air transport agreement too were suspended. Tensions continued to mount in 2020 leading to Greece mobilizing its naval forces and French warships visiting the region in support of Greece and Cyprus. The pivot towards Russia added to the existing frictions in relations with another traditional partner, the United States. Turkey’s procurement of the S-400 air defence system from Russia led to its suspension from the F-35 programme and eventually to sanctions against Turkey’s defence procurement agency.
Turkey’s relations with the EU and the United States demonstrate that Turkish decision makers do not believe that despite longstanding traditional partnerships and the NATO umbrella, Turkey’s interests will always or fully coincide with Western interests. Hence in situations where it felt that its key interests were ignored by Western partners it acted independently of them and worked with other partners. There is though also acknowledgement of the vital political, security and economic stakes in the traditional relationships and for these reasons Turkey is unlikely to walk away from NATO or cause a complete rupture in ties with the EU. For the same reasons, the West too is averse to a situation where Turkey goes into the Russian embrace.
The show of bravado notwithstanding, Turkey was affected by the consequences of the stand-off with Russia in 2015-16. Given that Russia was strongly committed to Bashar al-Assad (and the United States and other western powers were unwilling to establish a no-fly zone and seemingly more preoccupied with dealing with IS), the objective of regime change in Syria was abandoned in favour of the more limited objectives. Turkey came to acknowledge that regime change in Syria was not a feasible option and that its key interests in Syria viz., eliminating the possibility of a Kurdish threat from its border with Syria as well as ensuring that Turkey would have a say in any future agreement to end the Syrian conflict would be better served by working with Russia (and Iran) rather than the United States. It is significant that Turkish military operations against YPG in Syria occurred only after the rapprochement with Russia.For Russia, on the other hand, the deals with Turkey came in handy to enable al-Assad to reassert control over a very large part of Syrian territory, get the YPG to seek cover from the al-Assad regime, and acquire greater leverage over Turkey so that now Russia alone seems to stand between an all-out assault on Idlib by the regime’s forces. Elsewhere though, as in the case of the Libyan conflict, Russia and Turkey have pursued divergent interests and supported rival alliances. Although it professes support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and has supplied drones to Ukraine, Turkey has not gone along with the sanctions against Russia. It has used its relations with Russia and Ukraine to broker an agreement facilitating the export of Ukrainian grain shipments and so underscored its relevance in the region.
The Turkish leadership recognizes the eastward shift in the global balance of power and has accordingly invested in cultivating China. Besides its obvious value as a permanent member of the UNSC, development of ties with China helps Turkey in its quest for strategic autonomy and, more importantly, in the immediate context for funding and investments for its ambitious infrastructure projects. Turkey hopes that the BRI will dovetail with its own Middle Corridor project.
Reset to Zero Problems
The preceding two decades have undoubtedly seen a more assertive Turkish foreign policy. Turkey had begun to move in this direction during the Ozal era. Perhaps this was inevitable given Turkey’s attributes of national power. The Davutoglu doctrine gave expression to this. Erdogan’s ambition to be recognized as a world leader and transform Turkey into an influential global actor in its own right translated into a more belligerent approach. Turkey’s rapid economic development and the growth of its defence industry (TB2 drones have acquired a legendary reputation and showcase the prowess of Turkey’s defence industry) coupled with instrumentalities of soft power gave it the confidence to act decisively in its neighbourhood as well as to expand its outreach to regions beyond. Thus, interventions in Syria, Iraq, Nagorno-Karabakh and Libya and Turkish military bases in Qatar and Somalia were accompanied by an impressive outreach to Africa. A more aggressive foreign policy flowed in part from a perception that Turkey might be able to alter the ground situation and successfully project its leadership role by allying with organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and using Islamist militant groups. It was also the product of Turkey’s threat perception from PKK/YPG which, in turn, was linked to Turkey’s domestic politics. The offensive against PKK and YPG bolstered Erdogan’s appeal to nationalistic voters and served him well in successive polls.
By the end of 2020 Turkey had preempted the Syrian Kurds from establishing a zone of influence along the border with Syria, entrenched itself more strongly in Libya, and put itself in a position that its energy security requirements would not be entirely overlooked in any future energy corridor in the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, however, Turkey found itself at odds with its Western partners. Relations with Russia were not devoid of disagreements and those with China not entirely smooth due to the Uyghur issue. As to the Gulf and the Middle East, there was perhaps the realization that continuation of the confrontation with heavyweights in the region such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Israel was counterproductive and that the kind of opening in the region that Turkey saw for itself a decade ago had been shut with the rollback of the Arab Spring. The Middle East landscape too had changed with the Abraham Accords and the Biden Administration’s passive policy in the Middle East added to the uncertainties. The “Muslim 5 Summit” fiasco convened by Malaysia in December 2019 highlighted the frictions within the Islamic world as also the limits of Turkey’s ambitions to challenge Saudi leadership of the Islamic world.
Beginning 2021, Erdogan took to nimble-footed diplomacy typical of the region and moved to reset ties with regional powers. Turkey initiated diplomatic and intelligence contacts with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey in March 2022 was followed by the Turkish Foreign Minister’s visit to Israel in May. Yair Lapid visited Ankara in his capacity as Foreign Minister a month later. Turkish authorities revealed that they had foiled an Iranian plot to kidnap Israeli tourists in Turkey. Turkey and Israel also announced that after a four year hiatus, they would again exchange ambassadors. In April 2022 a Turkish court brought the Khashoggi chapter to a close by transferring the trial to Saudi Arabia, thus removing a major irritant in Saudi-Turkey ties and setting the stage for President Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia later that month. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed paid a visit to Turkey in November 2021 during which several agreements promising Emirati investment of USD 10 billion were concluded. President Erdogan’s visit to the UAE in February 2022 further suggested that UAE and Turkey were turning a new page in their relations. Thirteen agreements covering diverse sectors such as trade, defence, agriculture and healthcare were signed. UAE and Turkey also signed a USD 4.7 billion currency swap agreement.Erdogan again visited the UAE in May 2022 to convey condolences over the death of Sheikh Khalifa.Clearly the expectation is that Saudi Arabia and UAE will help relieve Turkey’s economic woes by providing loans and investments while promoting Turkish exports to these markets. A quiet process of reconciliation with Egypt was also initiated. A Turkish delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal held visited Cairo in May 2021 and Egypt reciprocated by sending a delegation to Ankara in September. Reportedly, the exploratory talks covered Libya, Eastern Mediterranean, Israel-Palestinian conflict and Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood-related concerns. Turkish criticism of the Sisi regimewas toned down anda Muslim Brotherhood affiliated satellite channel shut shop in Turkey in April this year. In a recent interview with the TRT News Channel, Erdogan remarked that talks at the lower level with Egypt were continuing and “it is not excluded that this will happen at higher levels as long as we understand each other”. A tentative thaw has also occurred in ties between Turkey and Armenia. Special Envoys appointed by both countries in December 2021 are discussing the normalization of relations and a few steps such as opening their shared border for third country nationals and beginning direct cargo flight operations have been taken in this direction. The Armenian Foreign Minister, Ararat Mirzoyan, participated in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in March 2022 in the margins of which he had talks on the restoration of ties with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. In parallel, Turkey stepped back from further confrontation with the EU that carried the risk of EU sanctions, halted drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, announced that it was seeking better relations with Europe and the United States, and resumed talks with Greece. Turkey also relented on the issue of NATO membership for Sweden and Finland after its PKK-related concerns were met and Finland and Sweden undertook to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism and to address pending Turkish requests for deportation or extradition of terror suspects at the NATO Summit in Madrid in June 2022.
Powers in the Middle East are redrawing and realigning equations and interests among themselves taking into account ground realities, the perceived American retrenchment from the region, US-Russia relations and the Sino-US rivalry.The pessimistic world economic outlook is another factor. Global economic growth is expected to decelerate from 5.7% in 2021 to 2.9% this year. The Turkish economy has been in a downward spiral since 2018. The Turkish Lira has been under pressure, sliding from about 3.44 to a dollar in September 2017 to 18.22 currently. The annual inflation is at its highest since September 1998. The government has had to use foreign exchange reserves to stabilize markets. The results of the municipal elections in Turkey in 2019 were an unpleasant surprise for Erdogan. Encouraged, the Turkish opposition is trying to mount a unified challenge to him. Six opposition parties - the Table of Six - issued a lengthy declaration in February this year, announcing their intent to reverse the executive presidential system introduced by Erdogan and strengthen parliamentary democracy in Turkey. These are worrisome developments for Erdogan as he preparesfor presidential and parliamentary elections in 2023. A combination of domestic pressures and external factors has driven the reset in Turkish foreign policy. It is unrealistic to expect that Turkey will entirely give up entrenched positions and assets. Erdogan threatened another operation against YPG in May this year and reiterated in July that a fresh military offensive in Syria would remain on the agenda until Turkey’s security concerns were addressed. Likewise, irked by the “militarization” of some islands near the Turkish coast, tensions between Turkey and Greece have again escalated and Erdogan has warned Greece notto “go too far”. Possibly, in both instances the rhetoric was meant for domestic consumption. The larger question is whether the latest recalibration in Turkish foreign policy is just a tactical shift borne out of immediate electoral and economic compulsions or does it reflect recognition of the limits of Turkey’s power and will Turkiye, as it now calls itself, eschew confrontation and brinkmanship and instead adopt a more conciliatory approach in the pursuit of its interests.
*Ambassador Rahul Kulshreshth is former Ambassador of India to Turkey and Egypt