Monday, November 29, 2010

The Star of the Hour: Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu

Very convenient to what my research paper is on, (FP) has been doing extensive pieces on the "rise of Turkey". In their list of 100 most influential people of 2010, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is ranked #7. To get a deep insight into Davutoglu's mind, here is a piece he wrote explaining his policies.  The magazine also conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Davutoglu about his zero-problems policy. In addition, there was also a piece published refuting those who say that Turkey is moving away from democracy and the west. It does seem that FP is certainly interested in Turkey, and they should be.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

My research paper aims to illustrate the reasons for Turkey's new active participation in the world and how it is not a break from the west and Europe. However, the articles FP has released tends to exaggerate how powerful Turkey is as of this moment. Don't get me wrong, through my research Turkey is certainly headed for regional power status if it maintains its course. The BRIC acronym may soon be BRIC(T). However, there are many factors FP tends to over-emphasize purely because this is new behavior for Turkey. Yes Turkey has changed its relationships with its Middle Eastern neighbors, but it is still close with Europe on multiple issues.

However, it should be noted that Turkey, with its strong economy, stable politics, and democracy has embarked on a soft power campaign in an effort to change the nature of its Middle Eastern policy. Being snubbed by Europe in EU negotiations, Mr. Davutoglu has led Turkey to turn its head and use its power for further participation in world affairs. If you can't join them, make them want you.

Is that the real policy of Turkey? Gain power on the international stage so it would make Turkey a prized member of the EU? I certainly don't know for sure, but it does seem so. Its partnership with Brazil, half a world away, demonstrates the changing of the policy of Turkey. Never before has modern Turkey been so deeply involved in world affairs. Turkey is making its own path, but not as drastic as everyone makes it out to be. It is still dependent on Europe in economic terms and social terms. However, kudos to Davutoglu, he's effectively shaped his nation.


  1. It is interesting to note that Turkey is also going back in time by reconnecting to regions formally part of the Ottoman Empire. Examples include Libya, Egypt...from what I have read, and I am sure they have reached out to other states as well. By connecting to these states which were formally lands part of the empire they are continuing to build up the network of connections which they formally had and also improving foreign relations with those countries.

    Not sure how that is being balanced with connecting to Europe and being part of the EU.

  2. the concept your first talking about is neo-ottomanism. It has come to the forefront of Turkish policy because of Davutoglu's strong interest in it.

    On the second part, I should have explained it better. The EU negotiations with Turkey have been going on and off for a while now. By Turkey making good relations with Middle Eastern states, something that European countries do no always have, it is providing a vital bridge. By providing this bridge for EU policy or initiatives, Turkey may be viewed as a greater "value" to those who are as of now opposed to Turkish accession. Thus, making it easier for Turkey to become part of the EU with less detractors and greater "value" to the organization.