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Friday, June 10, 2016

Turkey and Qatar’s Burgeoning Strategic Alliance

Turkey and Qatar’s Burgeoning Strategic Alliance

By Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner | Jun 08, 2016 |

Between the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (A.K.P.) in the early 2000s and the eruption of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Turkey’s “zero problems with neighbors” approach to foreign policy seemed commendable. Today, however, Ankara’s foreign policy is perhaps best described as “zero neighbors without problems.” In response to the Arab uprisings of 2011, Ankara’s projection of primarily soft power has evolved into the embrace of hard power—most notably in Iraq and Syria. This transformation has angered a host of Middle Eastern governments, from Egypt to Iran, and Iraq to the U.A.E.
Amid major setbacks and failed strategies in the volatile Middle East, the Turkish leadership has subsequently come to see Qatar as Ankara’s most trusted Arab ally. Indeed, it was within this geopolitical context that Ankara’s ambassador to Doha announced plans last year to establish a joint Turkish-Qatari military base in Qatar. At the heart of Turkey’s subsequent political and military agreement with Doha is a public recognition that both states face common enemies, sponsor the same non-state actors, have similar reactions to numerous regional crises, and ultimately share several long-term objectives.

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