The the Middle East, the Western Sphere and Russia

The Justice and Development Party has profoundly change Turkish foreign policy in the first part of the 21st century. This party has been elected in 2002 and since then hold power in Turkey. Foreign policy has been one of the areas that the AKP governments have been quite assertive and ambitious about (Altunisik, 2010). Ahmet Davutoglu, who first served as the chief foreign policy advisor of Prime Minister Rcep Tayyip Erdogan (2002-2009) and then became Minister of Foreign Affairs in May 2009, has been the main architect of AKP’s foreign policy. Davutoglu developed a vision of foreign policy which framed Turkey as a central country in global politics based on geography, history and identity. According to Davutoglu, Turkey could no longer be a ‘bridge country’ as during the Cold War, but rather a central country with an area of influence (Dinc , 2010). This vision is based on several principles (Altunisik, 2010). First is the principle of “zero problems with neighbors.”, second principle is multi-dimensional foreign policy, which means Turkey can pursue a foreign policy directed towards the Middle East, the Western Sphere and Russia without impeding relationships with any of these actors. Third principle emphasized the importance of Turkey’s mediation in regional conflicts. Turkey has expressed its willingness to be a mediator in the region. Finally, the new vision emphasized de-securitization of Turkish foreign policy. Indeed, soft power, economic bilateral relations and regional diplomacy are the new tools used and promoted by Turkey to exert its influence in Middle East. Turkey’s strength was not only coming from its military might, but more so from its democracy and economic strength. Under AKP governments Turkey’s involvement in regional conflicts has been particularly noteworthy in the Middle East, a region traditionally Turkey was very reluctant to get involved in regional conflicts (Altuniski, 2010). Turkey attempted to mediate between Israel and Syria, Hamas and Fatah, Iraq and Syria, Iran and the Western powers and in Lebanon and Iraq. Turkey’s acceptance in mediating Middle Eastern conflicts pointed to increasing credibility of Turkey as a third party and thus contributed to its prestige in the region and in the world (Dinc , 2010).