Author: Milliyet (Turkey) Posted September 12, 2013
In his recent speech to parliament, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s expressed his views on the Turkish government’s Middle East policy. While he did not break any new ground on the matter, he was much more explicit than he had been in the past and cleared up any confusion about its “mission.”
Here are the most striking points of his speech:
These words help us understand in which direction the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government would like to steer the Arab Spring. Its basic premise is this: the region is undergoing profound changes and transformations. Given its political and economic capacity, Turkey is a regional power and therefore cannot be a mere spectator. It is Ankara’s duty to have a strong voice in the region by influencing and guiding the developments taking place. In doing so, Turkey adheres to certain principles, such as supporting an awakening civil society and working against archaic dictatorships. Turkey wants to play an active role in creating a new regional order by standing with the masses that want freedom, justice and equality.
In this context, Davutoglu’s remarks about Turkey being the “owner and spearhead” of the Middle East, and steering the change in the region, create new goals, priorities and responsibilities for Turkish foreign policy. The government is increasingly self-confident and sees itself as a power — or even as the Prime Minister said the other day, a “global state” — that will shape the new regional order.
There is no doubt that thinking big, raising the bar, being creative and showing determination are all admirable qualities. But one must carefully consider the limitations and risks affiliated with these issues:
In summary, as Davutoglu said, there are many things Turkey can do as a regional power. But it is imperative to know the limitations and risks involved. Claims, expectations and rhetoric must not be overdone.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/04/overly-ambitious.html