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 East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe), a “zero problems with neighbors” policy is a pretty tall order to fill. But the very least such an approach demands, if it is to be articulated at all, is to eliminate the glaring inconsistencies. That’s what Turkey has begun trying to do.

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