During the campaign for the 2011 national election, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) gave little weight to foreign policy issues, focusing its platform instead on a variety of domestic issues. After the party’s victory in June, several regional challenges have thrust foreign policy back to the top of the AKP’s agenda. Turkey currently faces deteriorating relations with Syria, worsening dynamics with Iraq over the Kurdish issue, and new strains in Turkish-Iranian relations following the decision to deploy a European missile defense system in Turkey. In addition, after last month’s United Nations report on the 2010 Israeli commando raid on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara, Turkish-Israeli relations have sunk to new lows.
On October 25, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings hosted a discussion exploring Turkish foreign policy and assessing the impact of domestic developments and the shifting civilian-military power balance on Turkey’s international relations. Panelists included Ümit Boyner, chair of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), and Soli Özel of Kadir Has University. Brookings President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks and Senior Fellow and CUSE Director Fiona Hill moderated the discussion.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.