Turkey Addresses its Soft Power Deficit

Great stuff, as usual, from Yigal Schleifer, on the ways in Turkey’s foreign policy ambitions are driving Ankara to resolve formerly taboo issues. For Turkey, the lingering standoffs with Armenia, the Kurds (both domestically and in Iraq), and in Cyprus significantly diminish Ankara’s credibility on a number of fronts: as an EU aspirant, as a regional power able to mediate crises, and as a regional authority (in political terms). The key here is the “soft power” deficit incurred when a country is perceived as talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Of course, in Turkey’s numerous neighborhoods (the Middle […]

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Yesterday’s signing of protocols by Turkey and Armenia that pave the way for restoring relations between the two countries was, without a doubt, a historic moment. But it’s still too early to break out the champagne. The protocols — signed in Zurich in the presence of the American, French and Russian foreign ministers — spell out in the clearest terms to date what needs to happen in order for diplomatic ties to be restored and for the two countries’ borders to be reopened. But significant hurdles, some of which involve actors outside of Turkey and Armenia themselves, […]

On the heels of signing a major arms agreement with Russia on Sept. 10, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced his country’s recognition of Georgian breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, becoming only the third country after Nicaragua and Russia to do so. A little over a year since Russia unilaterally recognized the two statelets following its brief war with Georgian forces, the international community — including Russia’s close allies Belarus and Kazakhstan — has continued to keep its distance. Predictably, the response to Chavez’s announcement from Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, was dismissive. A statement released by the Ministry […]