Turkey is a growing power. It regularly is at the top of the table for growth, often outstripping far larger nations like Brazil or China. However, it sits in a very unstable part of the world. It has tried to insert itself into the European Union, but was rejected. Since then it has shown an increased interest in the relations of its neighbours, launching a ‘Policy of Zero Problems with our Neighbors’. In this Thesis, I shall look at what I believe Turkey must do to consolidate its role as the major regional power and to extend the ‘Zero Problems’.
Turkey is trying tried to join the EU not to distance itself from the Middle East, but to gain the advantages that membership entails. They are a major growing economy and felt that membership could boost growth even more. The nation believes that it could increase their prominence on the international stage; although an establishing member of the G20, Turkey is still not considered by the mainstream media as the major international player it really is. Membership of the European Union is also a lot more prestigious than membership of the Arab League. Therefore Turkey, in order to get itself ‘onto the radar’ of most people (the average British citizen still associates Turkey more with the Ottomans, Fez’s and Istanbul than the modern state it is today!) it is attempting to join one of the most high profile international groups.
However, this seems to conflict with the new role Turkey has attempted to carve out in the Middle East. As shown by its support of the people’s movements during the Arab Spring, Turkey has established itself as the definitive regional power. The Arab world is keen to align themselves with such an up and coming power, similar to the keenness of Eastern European nations to align themselves to a resurgent Russia. Turkey is becoming the policeman of the Arab World.
Its membership of the European Union must be seen, therefore as an economic measure. Its increasing role in the Arab World, one must see clearly from the ‘Zero Problems’ policy as well as the ‘Resolution of Conflicts and Mediation’ , is a product not of economic strategy but of foreign policy planning. Turkey’s true role is as the leader of a newly freed and newly democratized Middle East. It seeks to retain an increase this role with ever increasing confidence that seems to be the gift of a regional power.