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Is Turkey's Foreign Policy Really Sunni?

Mustafa Akyol writes that Turkey is pursuing an enlightened regional strategy that is not based upon sectarianism.
Turkey's Prime Minister and leader of Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tayyip Erdogan (C), accompanied by Numan Kurtulmus, head of the former Islamist-rooted HAS Party (L),  pose with the new members of his party during a party meeting in Istanbul September 22, 2012. The party's September 30, 2012 congress is unlikely to offer any sign Prime Minister Erdogan, viewed by many Turks as their strongest leader since Ataturk, is loosening his grip on a heavily-centralised party or on the country as a whole.  P

One of the criticisms that the Turkish government gets these days, both at home and abroad, is that it follows a "sectarian" foreign policy. According to this claim, Ankara looks at the Middle East with exclusively "Sunni eyes," and thus blindly sides with fellow Sunnis in both Syria and Iraq. 

Not only media commentators, but also political actors as prominent as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, have recently raised this criticism. According to Maliki, posters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held by Sunni protestors in Iraq were enough evidence of Turkey's "sectarian extension" into his country. The dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has also condemned Turkey in the past year and a half for Ankara’s support for "terrorists," which he sees as a product of a Sunni axis of evil.

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