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The Arab Spring and Turkey: The Camp David Order vs. the New Middle East

Over the past decade, Turkey has been experiencing a decisive transition that North Africa and the Middle East only recently have begun to feel. It will be misleading to interpret the changes in the Arab world as unique and isolated developments taking place in each country, on a case by case basis. “The Camp David Order,” that took shape after 1978, based on Western support for authoritarian Arab leaders, has dominated Middle Eastern affairs for the last three decades. The US invasion of Iraq intentionally or unintentionally shook up the status quo of the regional order. Turkey has been seen as a success story for those countries suffering from a lack of democratization, economic development and a more equitable distribution of income, while enduring a “Cold Peace” with Israel. Just as Turkey had a role in the transformation of the Arab world, the Arab world will also play a significant role in the formation of the “New Turkey.” Turkey will remain an actor helping to build this new democratic and more prosperous regional order, as long as it deploys its comparative, historical, and strategic advantages.

The Arab Spring and Turkey The Camp David Order vs
Turkey is so involved in developments in the Middle East that it cannot be a mere spectator to what is currently taking place.
 

On January 14, 2011, Ben Ali fled Tunisia after 23 years in power, signaling the end of the distorted regional order in the Middle East and North Africa. Demonstrations, which broke out after 26 year-old street vendor Mohammed Buazizi set himself on fire, have turned into a wave of change spreading from Yemen to Syria. Over the past decade, Turkey has been experiencing a decisive transition that the North Africa and Middle East only recently has begun to feel. Turkey’s September 12, 2010 referendum on partial constitutional amendments has become a milestone for the structural changes that was triggered by the 2007 national elections. While Turkey was going through a genuine debate on the “New Turkey” following the historic referendum, which put an end to the tutelage system, it now has engaged in yet another transformative debate on the emergence of the New Middle East. 

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