The aim of this paper is to discuss the economic drivers of Turkish foreign policy with a particular emphasis on the question of sustainability in the medium-term timeframe. It highlights that Turkish government has to fight on two fronts simultaneously: First, the immediate concern is to protect its trade and investment links with Middle East and North African countries in a turbulent post-Arab Spring era. Second front is its domestic political economy challenges, with the middle-income and illiberal democracy traps in particular posing real tests for Turkey’s regional power strategy over the next decade. In this context, the paper argues that a short supply of foreign policy pragmatism and domestic reconciliation may cause Turkey to operate well below the efficient frontier in both realms.
Mustafa Kutlay is Research Fellow at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK). He is currently a visiting research fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London.