Turkey in the Middle East

Turkey, as country with a long history in the region and its promotion of “shared brotherhood”, has exerted a significant influence on Middle Eastern societies. Even though Turkey followed pro-Israel and anti-Islamist policies in the past, its policies have increasingly become anti-Israel and pro-Islamist with the increasing prominence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the Arab Spring, a period in which many Middle Eastern countries were trying to find their own way of democratic governance – or at least they claimed to do so – Turkey was presented as a role model for the Middle East. The Arab Barometer Wave II (2011) shows that Middle Eastern societies believed that Turkey is a moderately democratic country with the mean value of 6.4 in a 11-point scale, with 10 being a democracy to the greatest extent possible. It is noteworthy, that, for example, the Palestinians give Turkey the same rating as the United States of America (6.7). However, as authoritarian tendencies trumped democratic aspiration, Turkey joined the group of failed democratization attempts. Discussions about how Turkey can be a role model for other countries in the region disappeared…

Working Paper