The uprising in Libya and the subsequent foreign military intervention there are providing a significant test for Turkey's stated desire to create a foreign policy that combines realism with idealism, while also highlighting the difficulty Ankara is facing in balancing its aspirations to become a more independent regional leader in the Middle East with its efforts to maintain its traditional alliances. Furthermore, the developments in Libya threaten to deepen ongoing tensions between Turkey and NATO as well as some of the alliance's member countries, in particular France.
In recent years, Turkey has set lofty goals for its foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, where Ankara has sought to establish itself as a mediator, promoter of democratic values and even a restorer of regional "dignity." Speaking recently to an annual gathering of his diplomatic corps, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu laid out a vision that portrayed Turkey as "the frontrunner on the list of wise countries in the international community."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, was among the most forceful regional voices calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down during the recent mass protests in Cairo.