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ITS-Okan University Joint Workshop: "Turkey's Changing
 Foreign Policy Paradigm Following the Arab Spring"

December 14, 2012 at Okan University Tuzla Campus in İstanbul


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The Center for Eurasian Studies at Okan University and the Institute of Turkish Studies based at Georgetown University invite you to a jointly sponsored one dayworkshop "Turkey's Changing Foreign Policy Paradigm following the Arab Spring"which will take place on December 14, 2012 at Okan University's Tuzla Campus.

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, Turkish foreign policy has had to adapt to a sea of changes, both in its immediate neighborhood and in the wider region. Prior to the Arab Spring, the Turkish government took unprecedented measures to normalize relations with neighbors which were hitherto ignored at best. The term "Zero problems with neighbors", coined by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu resulted in proactive measures to increase bilateral and regional trade, conflict resolution and confidence building, lifting of visa controls, conclusion of economic and security agreements and high level diplomacy. It was hoped that Turkey playing a leading role in forging new ties within the region, and helping to create a new zone of economic interdependence would contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East.

These calculations were upset in the wake of numerous uprisings, leading to regime change in some cases (as in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia), and virtual civil war in others (as in Syria). This evolving landscape presents serious challenges to Turkey's policy makers. In particular, the continuously unfolding Syrian crisis places increased strain on Turkey's relations with neighboring Iraq and Iran. The aim of the workshop is to allow scholars to shed light on the following questions:

  • What international and domestic factors are likely to shape Turkey's political and economic relations with the new regimes in the MENA region?
  • What will Turkey's approach to the Kurdish Question be given the existence of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq and the emerging Kurdish identity in Syria?
  • What are Turkey's new security concerns and what factors will be considered in drawing up an updated national security policy vis a vis the changing landscape?
  • To what extent are Turkish-American and Turkish-EU relations likely to diverge/converge, in light of the regime transitions in the MENA region?

This workshop will take place at the main campus of Okan University in İstanbul on December 14, 2012, and will be representative of a joint collaborative effort between the Institute of Turkish Studies, based at Georgetown University and the Center for Eurasian Studies at Okan University.

The organizer institutions invite all interested researchers to participate and to contribute to the debate. The deadline for registration as a participant is November 23, 2012.

Please contact us for registration and any questions: