Turkey’s role increased in last decade: report

Turkey’s role increased in last decade: report

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s role as a “world or even regional player” has accelerated dramatically in the last decade, from having “limited effectiveness,” by developing image and influence in the surrounding volatile region, according to a new report.

“Recently increased relations between Turkey and Russia and the steps they have taken to put Cold War attitudes behind them both set a positive example and create a potential element to help overcome Europe’s divides,” said a recently released Carnegie Endowment report titled “Addressing the Turkish Dimension in Creating a Euro-Atlantic Security Community.”

As the Euro-Atlantic states deal with historic changes in the broader Middle East, Ankara has great potential to help shape events, and its diplomats are active players in the Balkans at a time when the attention of others has shifted elsewhere, the report said. In the not too distant past, Ankara often “punched below its weight” in international affairs, the report said. Turkey is now more important than ever to the larger Euro-Atlantic community and that community is more important than ever to Turkey, said the report, adding that, although Turkey’s importance has increased, its role sometimes becomes limited.

“Turkey is pivotal in four regions: the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. However, new Turkish activism has not always brought consistent or unmixed successes,” said the report, citing Ankara’s “confrontation with Israel over Gaza remains” as an example.

“Turkey’s ability to play more effective partnerships with the other Euro-Atlantic states depends on how it resolves internal tensions, and the degree to which Ankara is seen to be acting at home and abroad in ways consistent with its modern secular and democratic character,” said the report.

Turks are resentful of those who criticize Turkey on the issues of Iraq, Afghanistan, and on Israel-Palestine, the report said. Also, the Turkish opposition antipathy for many specific policies toward Israel, the Arab world, Iran, the United States, and Russia are substantial, the report added.