One of the most important developments of the past decade, for both the Middle East and neighboring regions, is the emergence of Turkey as a regional power. Several factors account for Turkey’s transformation: more prosperity a stronger military, weaker neighbors, and a broadening of foreign policy priorities that has seen Ankara build up its ties with the Turkic states of the former Soviet Union and, dramatically, with Israel.
Turkey’s policies toward neighboring regions also have an important impact on U.S. policy. Indeed, Turkey has been ventral to countless U.S. policy initiatives over the past decade. In addition to the Gulf are and Operation Northern Watch, Washington and Ankara have been partners in NATO, the Middle East peace process, Bosnia, Kosovo, energy transport plans in Azerbaijan and Central Asia, and counter-terrorism efforts. Richard Holbrooke once aptly remarked that Turkey “stands at the crossroads of almost every issue of importance to the United States in the Eurasian continent.”
As the only Muslim-majority state in the Western alliance and the only Western ally in the Islamic Conference Organization, Turkey is a “pivotal state” par excellence. This book of essays by regional experts, covering the kaleidoscopic concerns of Turkish foreign policy, will enlighten U.S. foreign-policy students, scholars, aficionados, and professionals alike about one of the world’s most strategically located nations and most important emerging powers.