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Turkish foreign policy - Persisting and new challenges

Monday, 10 October 2016

Since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, there has been a significant shift in Turkish foreign policy. Only a short time ago, with the motto of “zero problems with neighbours”, Turkey’s foreign policy was hailed by many as a success story.  However, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the adoption of a more ideological policy, Turkey’s relations with many of its neighbours has soured. While relations with Russia were thrown into a crisis following the downing of a Russian jet in November 2015 over the Turkish-Syria border by the Turkish military, relations with traditional allies in the West (the US and the EU) have been plagued with difficulties. Whilst more recently there have been some positive changes, including: the normalisation of relations with both Russia and Israel; a new approach towards Syria; and signals that better relations with Egypt may be on the horizon, relations with the West still remain fragile not least as a consequences of the response of the EU-US to the recent failed coup attempt.

Öztürk Yilmaz, Vice President in Charge of Foreign Policy, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkey, focused on a number of key issues, including assessing the main dynamics that shape Turkish foreign policy, Turkey’s regional ambitions, not least related to Turkey’ recent military intervention into Syria. He also assessed the recent normalisation of relations with Russia and Israel, as well as relations between Turkey and its Euro-Atlantic allies, and the impact of the recent failed coup on foreign policy.

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