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The Arab Spring Effect on Turkey’s Role, Decision-Making and Foreign Policy

Fadi Elhusseini, Senior Fellow at the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa, provides a much needed perspective for Turkish foreign policy’s transformation in the last decade, specifically in relation to the Arab Spring phenomenon.

Fadi Elhusseini, Senior Fellow at the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa, provides a much needed perspective for Turkish foreign policy’s transformation in the last decade, specifically in relation to the Arab Spring phenomenon. In this book, changes in Turkey’s shifting policies and key concepts from soft power to strategic depth to entrepreneurial foreign policy are explained, to a major extent, by an examination of Turkey’s reactions towards the recent revolutions, counter-revolutions and movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. While Elhusseini does not ignore Turkey’s domestic conditions and the role of the ruling AK Party in creating a novel approach towards the region, the author argues that the developments within MENA were the dominant causes for Turkey to redefine its relationship with the countries of the region and to redevelop its world view.

Another major argument that Elhusseini puts forth toward the end of the book comes as a prescription to highlight the accumulated successes of Turkey’s foreign policy, such as Turkey’s comparative advantage over other countries in reaching the MENA region due to its location, history and religion. Historically, the Ottoman Empire’s rule over the Arab world in the last 400 years of the Empire left many cultural artifacts in the shape of mosques, baths, and monuments; these artifacts have no doubt left a cultural heritage which still contributes to the development of the region’s culture today. This factor renders Turkey’s soft power in MENA different from that of other countries that also have soft power claims, a specific argument that is also shared by İbrahim Kalın, the Turkish Presidential Press Secretary. Another advantage Turkey enjoys is its diplomatic power. The author cites a few studies regarding Turkey’s diplomatic communication capabilities and access into the region and concludes that although Turkey is not powerful enough to be consider

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