Out of Will or Out of Necessity? Turkey and the Middle East

André Barrinha, Laura Bastos

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

1 Citation (SciVal)


The political turmoil that affected the Middle East and North Africa since late 2010 caught many by surprise, including Turkey’s political leadership. It came at a time when Ankara was investing in the region, both economically and politically, in line with the new foreign policy principles progressively set in place by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).1 These principles were based on Ahmet Davutoğlu’s concept of Strategic Depth, and they posit Turkey as a leading regional and international actor, responsible for promoting peace and development, in particular, within its immediate neighbourhood. Ankara’s foreign policy activism had, until the eruption of popular unrest across the region, been focused on the importance of political stability, presupposing that even authoritarian regimes such as those in Syria or Libya were solid and stable (Öniş, 2012) and could, therefore, be seen as perfectly legitimate partners for Turkey on the international stage. The sudden change in the regional context forced Turkey to revisit its strategy, with significant consequences, both internally and internationally: the Kurdish issue has jumped to the top of the political agenda, the millions of refugees in the country are generating social and political instability in Turkey and, internationally, Turkey is seen as having an erratic policy for the region, particularly in how it deals with the Islamic State (IS) threat.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecurity in Shared Neighbourhoods
Subtitle of host publicationForeign Policy of Russia, Turkey and the EU
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-49910-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-49909-7
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameNew Security Challenges
ISSN (Print)2731-0329
ISSN (Electronic)2731-0337


  • Arab World
  • Daily News
  • Foreign Policy
  • Islamic State
  • Middle East

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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