Turkey and the Mediterranean: Balancing Geopolitics and Geo-Economics
While taking part in activities to which it has been invited within the context of EU Mediterranean policy, Turkey has remained distant to such a scheme for cooperation. When the Turkish government made the critical decision to transform the strategy of Turkish economic development from import-substitution orientation to one of export-led growth, Turkey initiated or expanded relations with the non-European Mediterranean region. Although initially these were limited to economic exchanges, as relations expanded, they became more multi-dimensional. Turkey developed an interest in the region’s overall political stability. Also, with enhanced economic means, it acquired a larger resource base with which it could be active in the region. Turkey’s interest in the non-European Mediterranean does not cover all countries in the region equally, with greater interest falling onto Libya and countries to its east. Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco tend to be viewed more as only economic partners. The interest in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, on the other hand, is more complex.