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Egypt Upheaval Deepens Turkey’s Regional Isolation

Ankara and Riyadh are at loggerheads over Egypt as the “Sunni Axis” collapses.
Turkey Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is pictured after his speech during conference in Ankara, June 18, 2013.  Police raided addresses across Turkey on Tuesday and detained dozens of people in an operation linked to three weeks of often violent protests against Erdogan. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX10S0B

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu would fly from country to country, actively involved in efforts to settle disputes and reduce tensions in the Middle East. That was his heyday, when all eyes were trained on him as a new and welcome force that would use Turkey’s increasing soft power for the benefit of the region.

Davutoglu’s suggestion that Turkey understood the Middle East better than others because of its history in the region also had some credibility, despite the “neo-Ottomanism” this evoked for some at home and abroad. Meanwhile, Ankara maintained open channels of dialogue with everyone, including Israel, and this bolstered the notion that a Turkey “with one foot in Europe” could be a regional peacemaker.

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