Analysts assessed Turkey's foreign policy change after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Istanbul and say this visit is a part of widening Turkish foregin policy that are generally limited to European Union membership process.
They say Turkey wants to play an active role in the Middle East after decades of passivity in the region despite long-shared history.
Over the past few years, Ankara has established close ties with Iran and Syria, with which it had tense relations during the 1980s and 1990s; adopted a more active approach toward the Palestinians' grievances; and improved relations with the Arab world more broadly.
Voice of America quoted Gokhan Cetinsaya, a professor of international relations at Istanbul Technical University, as saying there is more behind the warming of relations. Ankara's agenda, he says, is being dictated by the ruling Justice and development party, the AK Party.
"According to AKP foreign policy doctrine, Turkey with it strategic depth, Turkey with its geographic depth, Turkey's with its economic power, military power ... should certainly play a leading role in the region including the Middle East. Turkey should play a part in Africa and should play a part in central Asia, the Balkans, etc. Turkey should become a global power in the long run," Cetinsaya told VOA.
Sole priority of Turkey's recent governments was joining the European Union.
More close to East
Even Akif Emre, editor-in-chief of World Bulletin, also a columnist for Turkish daily Yeni Safak, says "given a choice, Turkey would be more close with Russia, India and China. Even the Islamic world."
"That doesn't mean Turkey would break all relationships with the West. They are looking for some new power to balance [its] European Union relationship."
But some analysts dispute this policy change and say AK Party needs EU process to be strong in the face of secular elite.
According to Sabiha Senyucel of the Turkish political think tank Tesev.
"If you want to save your self in the country then the EU is your only guarantee for you," Senyucel said. "The AK Party knows very well that, If they don't get back track with the EU process, if they don't continue their commitment with the EU process, they are going to lose their support from the intellectuals circles and from the business circles."
AK Party survived recent closure case by the country's constitutional court for allegedly anti-secular activities.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Eylül 2008, 17:36