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Turkey and its Quest for Leadership Role in the West Asian Region

Col. Rajeev Agrawal is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • IDSA Monograph Series No. 32
    2014

    Turkey is one of the major regional powers in West Asia. Born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has taken time to consolidate and establish itself as a prosperous modern state. It has overcome military coups and economic crisis in past decades and is now emerging as revitalized country with a host of opportunities for expansion. The countries of the region have often seen it with contempt and suspicion due to the Ottoman legacy as also its Western orientation in earlier part of its short modern history. However, Turkey under the leadership of current Prime Minister RecepTayyip Erdogan and its visionary foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu have, over the past decade reoriented Turkish policies in an attempt to not only befriend the neighbourhood but also emerge as a major interlocutor and a potential leader in the region. Although, initial attempts and especially the foreign policy initiative of “Zero Problem with Neighbours” yielded initial success, the recent Arab uprisings as well as other domestic challenges are forcing a rethink in Turkey. Rapidly changing balance of power in the region, its acceptance within the region and the Islamic world and its ability to balance its domestic and regional issues will dictate Turkey's future in the region in the coming years.

    About the Author

    Colonel Rajeev Agarwal was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1990 and has had varied operational and service experience for over 23 years. He has commanded his Regiment on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. He has also been a military observer with the United Nations in DRC for a year. He holds a Master's degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from Madras University. He has special interest in International affairs and been following events and trends in West Asia, Central Asia and Afghanistan over past three years.
    His published work include “Security in the Gulf Region: India's Concerns, Vulnerabilities, Interests and Engagement Options” in Rumel Dahiya (ed) Developments in the Gulf Region: Prospects and Challenges For India in the Next Two Decades, Pentagon Press, New Delhi, 2013. 'Arab Spring' and Democracy: Possibility or an Elusive Idea, Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, Vol 8, No.4, October to December 2013.

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