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Turkey`s Mediator Role in the Middle East Conflicts and its Impact on the EU`s Security

Esengül Ayaz
University of Sheffield
Esengül Ayaz
University of Sheffield
Open Panel

Abstract

While Turkey had very close relations with Western European countries during the Cold War, it generally ignored its relations with the Middle Eastern countries. However, the world order has changed with the end of the Cold War and a new period started in international affairs which has also affected Turkey`s Western-oriented foreign policy. Despite Turkey`s passive foreign policy in the Cold War period, Turkey started to follow a more active foreign policy and to give more significance to its surrounding regions such as the Middle East. In recent years, Turkey`s relations with its neighbours in the Middle East has developed dramatically and Turkey began to participate actively in the solution of regional conflicts as a mediator in the region. The main objective of this paper is to explore the mediator role of Turkey in the Middle East and its impact on the European Union`s security. To achieve that semi-structured interviews were held with foreign policy decision makers, party members, political elites and bureaucrats both in Ankara and Brussels. The paper also provides a theoretical framework that compares and contrasts realist and constructivist approaches to explain Turkey`s mediation in the Middle East and its impact on the EU`s security. The paper begins by explaining, briefly, the recent change in Turkish Foreign Policy towards the Middle East. It is followed by the underlying reasons and motivations behind Turkey`s mediation efforts. Finally, Turkey`s mediator role in the Middle East and how it affects the EU`s security are explained.