February 16, 2017- Amb. (Ret.) Onur Gökçe & Amb. Fazlı Çorman

On February 16, 2017, Amb. (Ret.) Onur Gökçe, Senior Lecturer at Bilkent University and Amb. Fazlı Çorman, Director General for South Asian Affairs at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, gave a presentation entitled “Turkish Foreign Policy towards the Middle East: The Conventional and the New” at Bilkent Hotel.
Amb. Gökçe started the meeting with a brief outline of conventional Turkish foreign policy and its principles, which were based on lessons learned from the Ottoman Empire and which helped to formulate the country’s foreign policy objectives. He further explained the extent to which Turkish foreign policy has remained stable and the extent to which it has evolved throughout history, in particular towards the Middle East. He argued that because there have been changes on all sides, it has become difficult to pursue and sustain foreign policies without making certain adjustments based on realpolitik. Amb. Gokce concluded his speech highlighting the fact that while continuing a traditional foreign policy may no longer be possible today; it is more important than ever to know how to conduct an effective foreign policy.
In the second part of the talk, Amb. Çorman pointed out that change is happening in the region outside of Turkey’s control. In this sense, he explained how the realities Turkey has to face in, particularly, Iraq and Syria, both formed and reformed Turkey’s actions even though the country’s main foreign policy principles remain still valid. Amb. Corman explained that developments in the region have forced Turkey to become more involved, and to evolve its foreign policy for the purpose of stability in this complex environment. He finalized his speech by summarizing Turkey’s stance towards Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Iran, the Gulf countries, and Yemen.