While Turkey, led by Prime Minister Erdogan, pursues an activist foreign policy in the Middle East, troubles with an insurgent Kurdish minority threaten the stability of the AKP’s leadership.
The recent flotilla incident involving Turkey and Israel marked the culmination of a significant shift in Turkish foreign policy, one in which Turkey emerged as an assertive regional actor.
The balance of power in the Middle East is shifting, and Turkey's changing role and rising influence with other countries provides both a risk and an opportunity for Washington.
Turkey is emerging strongly from the Great Recession, but the Euro area crisis, a soaring current account deficit, and domestic political uncertainty threaten the economy.
Despite unprecedented support from the European Union and the IMF, the euro crisis that began in Greece has quickly engulfed Europe and now threatens the very future of the euro.
In spite of recent tensions, the United States and Turkey still share important common interests. However, Turkey is a growing power and there are significant areas where Turkey’s perspective and interests differ from those of the United States.
The Turkish government’s handling of its Kurdish minority and the state of its civil-military relations will determine the longevity of the current improvement in Turkish political economy.
Turkey is one of the most economically and politically powerful states in the Middle East and it has recently been taking steps to fill the leadership vacuum that exists in the region.
The flotilla incident is the culmination of a slow drift in Turkish-Israeli relations. As the Israelis are increasingly subject to international opprobrium, Turkey’s strategic importance in the region is ascendant.
As the number of countries with the ambition to play a role in world affairs increases, Washington must decide whether to deal with them as legitimate global players or treat them as meddlers to be dismissed.