Friday, January 6, 2012

The Middle East and Turkey In the Arab Spring

      In 2011, both the Middle East region and rest of the world was deeply affected from very important events called Arab Spring. What was the reason for this? Globalization, the power of social media, Arabs or the West's demand for democracy for the Middle East? The cause of Arab Spring is currently not known. Perhaps "Wikileaks" explains the reason after five to ten years. The revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began on Saturday, 18 December 2010. To date, there have been revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, a civil war in Libya resulting in the fall of its government; civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, the latter resulting in the resignation of the Yemeni prime minister; major protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Oman; and minor protests in Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Western Sahara. Does the Arab Spring's effect spread to countries like China, Russia, and Iran? How it is affected by this situation in Israel? Who is the winner in the Arab spring? 

     There is a huge impact of Arab Spring across the region. However, I do not think that the impact of Arab Spring spreads over Iran, China or Russia for the next few years, because these countries keep tight control over their people. On the other hand, there may be a possible Shiite and Sunni conflict in Iraq with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq viable. Also in Syria, Assad's status remains uncertain. Iran's nerves are stretched in the face of all this thoroughly. In addition, "someone" wants to break the relationship between Turkey and Iran. Thus, they can break the effect of Iran in the Middle East. The cause is shown as the NATO's requirements of establish a missile shields in Turkey. However, Turkey's professional and moderate behavior on Iran issues will not allow this. Situation in the Middle East seems to be even more complicated than before. Israel seems to be even lonelier in the Middle East. Of course, this situation depends on possible regime changes in Egypt and in Syria. In addition, the ice between Turkey and Israel is still not melted, and the Palestinians more shouts for independence of Palestine in the international arena by the support of Turkey and Arab League. Apparently, the biggest winner of Arab spring is Turkey. 'Turkey is viewed as having played the "most constructive" role in the past year's events and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged as the most admired leader by far in the region, according to the 2011 edition of the annual "Arab Public Opinion Survey" conducted by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution' (Asia Times). However, as it is said in the Economist, 'Turkey will be a better model for its region if it fixes its Kurdish problem' (Economist, 2011). 

The Economist, Turkey and the Arab spring, 2011, available at

Asia Times, Turkey is 'biggest winner' of Arab Spring, 2011, available at

Alif Arabia, Hitchhiker’s Guide To Arab Spring (Caution: Humor Required) available at

İsa Burak GONCA