ISSUE: Rating of selected foreign policy issues in Turkey
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|ACTORS||ISSUE POSITION||X||POWER||X||SALIENCE||=||TOTAL SUPPORT BY ACTOR|
|Palestinian authority & Hamas||2||X||2||X||3||=||+12|
TOTALS: A – Scores of all actors supporting the issue: = 81
B – Absolute value of actors opposing the issue: = 3
C – Scores of actors with zero issue positions: = 0
D – Totals A, B, C: = 84
E – Totals A+1/2 of Total C: = 81
Probability of Support = E/D = 0.96 (96%)
“Turkey has put a higher priority to Iraq’s territorial integrity due to its desire to thwart the emergence of independent Iraqi Kurdish state that could serve as a model for separatist Turkish Kurds (Migdalovitz, p. 6),” who cost Turkey more than 30,000 lives in war in the years 1984 to 1999. Turkey therefore has strengthened its diplomacy policy towards northern Iraq by signing a memorandum of understanding on countering the terrorism threat including the PKK, with Iraq government. The Turkish government is also involved in building good relations with all the major Iraq ethnic groups, encouraging them to work together to develop a functioning democracy. Trade wise, the two governments have agreed to increase their trading volume to $20 billion by 2014, up from &7 billion in 2009. Turkey is Iraq’s largest trading partner with Iraq being Turkey’s fifth largest trading partner.
Even though Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel as an independent state, lately, their relationships have sored because of Israel’s repeated aggression towards Palestine. Their relationship reached their lowest point on the “ill-fated Israel commando raid on Gaza-bound flotilla that resulted in the deaths of nine Turks (Schleifer).”
Turkish officials have had contacts with Hamas leaders since their election to parliament. This act disregards the approach taken by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, which had set conditions for Hamas to meet before the international community would engage with it.
The foundation of good relationship with Syria was laid when Turkey threatened military action against Syria forcing Damascus to recognize the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization. Since then, they have intensified their ties, conducting joint military exercises, signed agreements to lift visa requirements and they have been holding back-to-back joint ministerial meetings. But occasionally they differ over waters from Euphrates River that flow from Turkey to Syria.
Turkey and Iran share over 500km border. In the past their relationship had been characterized by both conflicts and collaborations. Tensions usually surfaced from their competing regional ambitions and their different forms of Islam. With the U.S invasion of Iraq and the possibility of instability over the region, Iran and turkey accelerated their ties. There have been exchanges of high level ministerial visits with the Turkish prime minister describing Iran’s president as a friend of Turkey. Turkey also supports Iranian ambition to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Turkey’s relationship with China was meant to replace that of U.S and Israel. A trip to china by the Turkish president in 2009 was meant to signal a new era of bilateral ties. However, these ties were briefly disturbed when Turkey described china’s suppression of Uighur riots as “savagery” and “a kind of genocide”. Later, that opinion rapidly changed and a higher priority was given to trade and military ties. The two countries have now signed agreements for cooperation in trade, infrastructure, power, and mining, among others. Lately, they have engaged in joint military training with china agreeing to transform the ancient Silk Road to silk railway linking Turkey to China.
- Migdalovitz, Carol. Turkey: Selected Foreign Policy and U.S Views. Congressional Research Service. 2010. Pdf file.
- Schleifer, Yigal. “Dead in the Water”. Argument. Foreign Policy, 2011.