From Inspiration to Aspiration: Turkey in the New Middle East

Dec. 6, 2011, 8:37 p.m.

The Carnegie Endowment published a paper on the influence of Turkey on the Arab Spring both directly and as a model of a democracy in the region. The report stresses that there are many ways that Turkey's experience with democracy is unique. Still, Turkey shares many features with countries in transition in the Middle East and North Africa. The full report can be found here.

The onset of the Arab Awakening presents the world with an historic opportunity to launch the third great wave of transatlantic collaboration (following the reconstruction of Europe after 1945 and the re-integration of Eastern Europe after 1989). The distinguishing feature of this third wave will likely be Turkey’s active involvement, after playing only minor supporting roles in the first two waves.

Turkey’s role as a model for budding democracies also offers the country an opportunity to revitalize its partnership with the West. What better way to allay concerns over Turkey’s increasing foreign policy unilateralism than to induce Turkey to use existing multilateral platforms in a grand program of transformation throughout the Arab world? A Turkey acting in unison with the West to foster democracy and the rule of law in the Arab world would certainly provide the ultimate proof that the Turkish model is not only relevant to policy in the region but a lasting success story.

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