Turkey’s Middle-Eastern Relations

Turkey enjoys deeply rooted cultural, historical, religious and social relations with Arab countries, especially during critical times as these. One of Turkey’s main political goals is to keep up positive ties with the Arab world through close dialogue and cooperation. Over the past few years, Turkey has made great efforts to further develop and diversify relations with a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. Iran and Turkey have strong economic ties, but usually fall on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to regional conflicts, and ultimately see each other as rivals. Turkey assumes a strong, open anti-Assad position that includes support for foreign military intervention against Assad’s regime which angers Iran, however, both countries stood against Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi’s overthrow. Turkey-Israeli ties have included strong economic and military cooperation before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule, but as of late, tensions have increased under Erdogan, creating a bump in the road when Israel raided a Gaza-bound Turkish aid fleet, killing nine civilians. Relations have since improved, after Israel apologized for the offense in 2013, but turned ill once more when Prime Minister Erdogan blamed Israel for the military dismissal of Egyptian President Morsi. Erdogan has called Morsi’s dismissal a “coup” and has blamed Israel for backing it. “Experts” of the on-going, politically and socially complex middle-eastern relationships are constantly working to “decode” the nonstop events of the region. Turkey is in a fragile position in a very fragile region and must act conservatively given its relatively neutral position in current middle-eastern affairs.

-Eli Archer



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