Turkey's Misguided Foreign Policy
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" foreign policy enhanced American power and prestige around the world. Today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan imperils his country's chances of regional preponderance by pursuing a policy of speak pugnaciously and carry no stick.
In the last three years, Ankara has engineered diplomatic conflicts with Israel, Cyprus and her Greek patron, and most recently Syria. And, Turkey has warned each country that their disputes might culminate in a military confrontation. Nevertheless, none of the threatened countries have altered their behavior, even cosmetically, to mollify Turkey, thereby calling Ankara's credibility into question.
When Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) assumed power in 2002, it sought to bolster Turkey's international influence through a "zero problems with neighbors" foreign policy, which entailed resolving outstanding disputes with all surrounding countries and increasing Turkish security and economic cooperation with all of its neighbors, especially the Arab world and Iran. To this end, in 2004, Erdogan became the first Turkish Prime Minister in fifty years to visit Greece, Turkey's traditional rival. Then in July 2005, Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis laid the foundation of a pipeline to transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe. Turkey also sought increased security cooperation with Greece, with the two countries agreeing in 2007 to create a joint Operational Unit within the framework of NATO with the aim of participating in Peace Support Operations along with a joint Disaster Relief/Humanitarian Aid Task Force. (...)