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A New Turkish Foreign Policy: Towards Proactive “Moral Realism”

In a time when our globalizing world is confronted by a deepening global turmoil, political instability and multiplying security threats have set in motion a global tectonic shift. Turkey is not immune from these challenges; on the contrary, with its pivotal state/regional leadership position, its foreign policy choices will shape the effectiveness of any international effort for enduring peace and stability in the region. While Turkey’s proactive mode of operation since 2002 has remained, its vision, identity, and strategy have gained new characteristics. Over the last two years we have witnessed not only a reset, but the emergence of a new Turkish foreign policy whose proactive nature and main principles are shaped by what I call ‘moral realism,’ that combines hard power-based military assertiveness and humanitarian norms in addition to new capacity- and strategy-based parameters.

A New Turkish Foreign Policy Towards Proactive Moral Realism
The Turkish, Russian and American chiefs of the general staff, Hulusi Akar (C), Valery Gerasimov (R) and Joseph Francis Dunford (L) respectively, held a trilateral meeting on the current situation in Syria and Iraq on March 7, 2017 in Turkey. Turkish Gen
 

Introduction

The imploding political stability and multiplying security threats over a vast geography, from the greater Middle East to Europe’s gates, have set in motion a global tectonic shift.1 A refugee crisis of biblical proportions, the problem of ISIS, increased terrorist attacks targeting urban populations, and the mushrooming of “failed states” in the region suggest no single nation or community is immune from the tightening grip of insecurity around the central tenets of humanity. Turkey is not immune from these challenges and security risks; on the contrary, it is at the epicenter of this global shift. Both its domestic affairs and foreign policy are exposed to these developments. While expectations vis-à-vis Turkey’s role and involvement in the Middle East increase, challenges originating from the Middle East confront Turkey more than ever before. Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy choices will shape not only the future of this region but also the effectiveness of any international, concerted effort for enduring peace and stability. 

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