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The Arab Spring and the Balance of Power in the Middle East

By Kayhan Barzegar The Arab Spring can be seen as a turning point in the regional balance of power of the Middle East. Previously, the “balance of power” was determined at the level of classic players—the states—and therefore was easier. … Continue reading >

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Values, Emotions and Strategy on the Nile

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum By Chuck Freilich We all rejoice when dictators fall and the prospects for democracy flourish. What has happened in Egypt and Tunisia is a regional earthquake and it may be far from over. An … Continue reading >

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Inshallah, Cairo will be more like Ankara than Tehran

A Power & Policy Guest View

By Joshua W. Walker

As a longtime ally of the West and new partner of Iran and Syria, Turkey has been seeking the role of mediator and model in every available arena, including Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. As a G-20 founding member, holder of a seat on the UN Security Council, European Union aspirant, and head of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Ankara has transformed itself into an international actor, capable of bringing considerable clout and influence to its regions. Often lost in the debates about Turkey and its potential as a model is the fact that Ankara did not transform itself overnight from a defeated post-Ottoman state led by Ataturk’s military to a flourishing market-democracy led by a conservative Muslim party. It has been almost a century in the making.

Given the recent events in Egypt, the role of the Turkish military and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Erdoğan has garnered many comparisons to the Egyptian army and the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt and Turkey’s official aspirations—modernity and secularism—are remarkably undefined, though officially upheld and enforced by the military institutions as pillars of the grand idea of these nations themselves.  Apart from generic rhetoric, there has been little refined thinking by most analysts about the substance of these terms or about the relationship between society and the political elite in Egypt for the last thirty years given the lack of civilian empowerment, while Turkey has been struggling with civil-military tensions since the arrival of the AKP.
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