Turkey and the Arab Spring: Coming to Terms with Democracy Promotion?
A conspicuous aspect of Turkey’s response to the events of the Arab Spring has been the increasing salience of democratic principles in the making of Turkey’s regional policy. Each uprising has had unique characteristics, and accordingly Turkey’s reactions also varied, reflecting both the nature of the contingency at hand and its prior ties to individual countries. Yet, one factor that lies at the heart of the popular uprisings has been the issue of regime change. Although many actors, especially the current government, embraced democracy as a major principle of Turkish foreign policy, Turkey has eschewed developing an official democracy promotion agenda. Nonetheless, Turkey’s forthcoming attitude definitely set it apart from other regional countries’ reactionary policies, and the emphasis it put on popular legitimacy underscored Turkey’s Western character.