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Research Report

Making Sense of Turkish-EU Relations in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring

Bülent Aras
Copyright Date: Apr. 1, 2013
Pages: 18
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 3-3)
    Bülent Aras

    Brussels and Ankara were caught unprepared for the changes in their neighbourhood resulting from the popular uprisings in the Arab world. Equally unexpected was the long-term impact these changes have already had on the course of relations between Turkey and the EU. New dynamics are emerging which are creating a strong imperative for joint action to deal with common challenges in the post-Arab Spring political landscape. Turkey’s active response has once again shifted the balance to the Western component of its foreign policy identity and thus represents a strong complementary position to the EU’s. There is now a chance of...

  2. (pp. 3-6)

    For the last decade, Turkey has developed a new foreign policy which represents a considerable degree of discontinuity with its foreign policies in the former era. This is, first and foremost, the result of a transformation in the domestic landscape, but also of a new regional and international environment. The new geopolitical thinking is rooted in a self-confidence and a perception of Turkey as a country with multiple identities in terms of regional belonging, with Turkey’s European identity at the centre in historical and geographical terms. The intellectual architect of this perspective, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu, argues that...

  3. (pp. 6-9)

    The Arab Spring has introduced ideas and agents that have transcended the domestic and international divide in a way unseen in recent history. The Arab Spring is part of a larger transformation, which is not likely to end without a re-orientation of the political landscapes of the countries in the Middle East. It is, in this sense, a serious blow to the status quo in the Middle East, which was already outdated in a changing international environment. The inward-oriented regimes, which were resistant to international influences, have been removed, their places being taken by new variants of outward-looking regimes coming...

  4. (pp. 9-12)

    The Arab Spring represents a chance to reclaim Western values in a way that accommodates differences and offers emancipation from oppression in a formerly authoritarian region. Before the Arab Spring, the so-called Asian model of development posed a serious challenge to the liberal European model in these countries. The comparative advantage of the Chinese model was its high rate of development at times of economic crisis in Europe and its success in creating millions of jobs in light of high unemployment rates in Europe. It is within this framework that the rise of the Global South has been interpreted in...

  5. (pp. 12-13)

    Both the EU’s recognition of the importance of its value system and Turkey’s rediscovery of its European component in its foreign policy identity have occurred during a period of radical transformation in the Mediterranean region. The Arab Spring has resulted in a process of renegotiation over territory, identity and governance which has eventually fostered the idea of a new regional political community, which has prepared the ground for a redefinition of “wider Europe”. This is indeed an opportunity for a longlasting constructive involvement of the EU in its southern neighbourhood. Hollis argues that what the EU has done so far...