Insight Turkey
Insight Turkey
Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs


Burhanettin Duran

Social Sciences University of Ankara, Türkiye
Burhanettin Duran
Turkish Foreign Policy in the Face of Regional and Global Challenges
June 26, 2023
This article essentially posits that Türkiye took advantage of the deepening competition between global powers under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to part ways with its traditional foreign policy tradition and pursue a more independent approach. That the country expanded its economic and military capacity significantly during the relevant period to support a balanced policy between the West, Russia, and China is another major argument. To put those claims to the test, this article primarily analyzes the expansion of Türkiye’s economic and military capacity and proceeds to focus on its policy toward the deepening rivalry between the West and Russia (due to the Ukraine war) and how it responded to the “rise of Asia.” Last but not least, this piece analyzes Türkiye’s pursuit of a more independent foreign policy, how the country clashed with the U.S., the European Union, and Russia as well as their allies on the ground, and how Ankara used its policy of balance to keep a lid on those tensions.
Türkiye and the Future of Normalization in the Middle East
July 20, 2022
Following the Arab Spring, all the nations in the Middle East started to pursue a phase of regional softness after a protracted era of strife and rivalry. In many areas of the Middle East, the normalization agenda is being implemented in a coordinated manner based on specific concerns. For a number of reasons, Türkiye has emerged as both a participant in the brand-new normalization process in the Middle East and as a nation making an effort to regulate it. This research article attempts to elaborate on the dynamics of the normalization process ushered in by the Arab Spring and Türkiye’s role in spearheading this process with projected outcomes aimed at long term stability in the region. Overall, the pursuit of normalization is encouraging but not without flaws due to the persistence of ideological differences and conflicts of interest among regional actors and between major international powers.
A Decade Later: Taking Stock of the Arab Uprisings and Turkey’s Role
June 18, 2021
This article attempts to understand the outcomes of the crackdown on the Arab revolts and the lessons learned thereof. There is no doubt that the Arab revolts were corrupted shortly after their start and used to serve the interests of counterrevolutionaries. The economic, social, and political problems, which triggered the riots in 2011, have not been mitigated a decade later. In this respect, Turkey’s respect for popular demands, the attractiveness of its democratic model, and it proactive foreign policy have concerned the Gulf states leading them to view Turkey as a country that they had to contain. However, Turkey’s post-2016 efforts to restore the balance of power through the use of hard power prevented Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from developing a new regional blueprint under the Trump administration. Right now, there are indications that all regional powers are engaging in a fresh strategic assessment.
The Future of Global Great Power Competition after the Coronavirus
July 3, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic and foreign policy agendas of all countries have been turned upside down. The pandemic has brought new problems and competition areas to states and to the international system. While the pandemic politically calls to mind the post-World War II era, it can also be compared with the 2008 crisis due to its economic effects such as unemployment and the disruption of global supply chains. A debate immediately began for a new international system; however, it seems that the current international system will be affected, but will not experience a radical change. That is, a new international order is not expected, while disorder is most likely in the post-pandemic period. In an atmosphere of global instability where debates on the U.S.-led international system have been worn for a while, in the post-pandemic period states will invest in self-sufficiency and redefine their strategic areas, especially in health security. The decline of U.S. leadership, the challenging policies of China, the effects of Chinese policies on the U.S.-China relations and the EU’s deepening crisis are going to be the main discussion topics that will determine the future of the international system.
The Crisis of the Liberal World Order and Turkey’s Resistance
September 12, 2019
With the retreat of liberalism in the Western world and the US withdrawing on many global issues, the international system is undergoing serious changes. Turkey, also caught within the throes of international disorder, has been facing a variety of pressing challenges. In response, Ankara has undertaken the dual task of providing its own security and mobilizing the international community to resolve the problems in the international system. In Turkey’s new presidential system, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political and diplomatic skills play a key role in the formulation and implementation of Turkish foreign policy.
Traditional Rivalry or Regional Design in the Middle East?
April 1, 2018
The repercussions of the Arab Spring and new polarization between Iran, Israel and the Gulf States means the Middle East faces multiple rivalries and conflicts. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the United States seem to have reached an agreement on certain issues in an attempt to redesign a fractured regional order. This vision is yet to be realized on the ground given the uncertainty around Washington’s global role. In assessing regional stakeholders and their potential capabilities as well as several scenes of regional conflict, the paper argues Turkey plays a traditional role in balancing tensions between Iran, the Gulf and Israel. While Turkey does not have a silver bullet, it provides ‘balancing’ support to the region, preserving neutral, middle ground.
The Transformation of Turkey’s Political System and the Executive Presidency
October 1, 2016
This commentary analyzes the question of political transformation in Turkey, which has been a hotly debated issue for more than 40 years. Over the past decades, each proposal to reform the country’s system of government was met with resistance from critics and it was turned into a personal issue by targeting the plan’s supporters rather than the idea itself. After a brief analysis of the previous arguments, this study will focus specifically on the most recent efforts to adopt a presidential system, including the cooperation between the AK Party and MHP at the Parliament and the constitutional referendum, which will be held in 2017.
Understanding the AK Party’s Identity Politics: A Civilizational Discourse and its Limitations
January 1, 2013
The AK Party seeks to respond to four challenges stemming from three confrontations (Islamism, Kemalism, and regional balance of power) that are intertwined and intensely interactive: The potential radicalization of Islamist movements through new sectarian polarization, the extension of the Kurdish Question regionally and internationally, the struggle for greater influence among regional powers, and the repercussions of Israel’s aggressive policies. The discourse of civilization that Prime Minister Erdogan frequently and recently employs reflects a quest to invent a new political language and an overarching shared identity regarding the future of both Turkey and the Middle East.

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