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October 22, 2012 |  Print  Your Research  

Term Paper: Turkey and the Arab Spring, the End of Zero-Problems?

David Murdo Ian Macdonald: The Arab Spring has created a number of significant regional challenges for Turkey, whom was caught off guard by the magnitude and speed of events. Several neighboring regimes quickly became destabilized, threatening the delicate balance of regional relations that Turkey had built up.

Turkey built up its relations through its foreign policy approach, dubbed 'Zero-problems with neighbors.' The Zero-problems approach entailed actively seeking positive engagement with neighboring states, including those whom Turkey has had strained/hostile relations in the past, such as Syria.

This approach was designed to enable a de-securitization in Turkish regional policy, promoting economic and diplomatic ties to increase Turkey's standing in the region. However with the onset of the Arab Spring, neighboring regimes have engaged in brutal crackdowns on their dissenting populaces, drawing international condemnation. The Zero-problem approach has since come under significant criticism, with observers describing the approach as a failure, incompatible and obstructive towards Turkey's aims and actions since the uprisings.

David Macdonald is a Postgraduate student of International and European Politics at the University of Edinburgh, and has previously worked in the British Parliament.

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Tags: | Turkey | Arab Spring |

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