Turkish Foreign Policy in the Post-Arab Spring Period: A Case Study of Syria
With the AKP (Adalet Ve Kalkinma Partisi) party in power in 2002, Turkey embarked on the journey of establishing and maintaining peaceful relationships with the neighbouring Middle Eastern states. The goal of peace and regional harmony was to be achieved by forging economic, cultural and trade relationships and by achieving regional security. Following this vision, Turkish foreign policy resolved long-standing issues with Syria. But the advent of the Arab Spring in 2011 changed the entire situation. Turkey, which had successfully followed “zero problems” with neighbours, was confronted with the circumstances that it had to eventually intervene in Syria in order to not only preserve the democratic values of the region but also keep its own sovereignty intact. Turkey decided to side with the supporters of democracy. Second, when the US, Russia and Iran intruded in Syria with an aim to protect their interests, Turkey stood alone with its resolve that only strong democratic values and their continuity could assure long term peace in Syria. Since Turkey has always been a supporter and promoter of a sustained democracy, and a peaceful neighbourhood, it intervened in Syria by extending support to those fighting to espouse democratic traditions and democratic rule. The article makes use of role theory in order to estimate Turkey’s policy of engagement in Syria to restore peace, democracy and stability.