The Impact of Increased Turkish Qatari Security Relations on the Middle East Security

Article

In the multipolar security system of the Middle East, the global forces are increasingly acting on their own, and regional actors are emerging as game changers/spoilers....

ABSTRACT

In the multipolar security system of the Middle East, the global forces are increasingly acting on their own, and regional actors are emerging as game changers/spoilers. Turkey, described as an insulator state, bordering among the European, the ex-Soviet and the Middle East regional security complexes according to the Regional Security Complex (RSC) theory of Buzan, has been transforming into a game changer in this volatile environment. In this context, Turkey opened up its border to more than three millions Syrians fleeing from Syrian civil war, and for its border security Turkey carried out three military operations successfully in Syria. Turkey has also improved its relations with Qatar at many levels and the political, economic and military association between these two countries has turned into a strategic alliance after the establishment of the Supreme Strategic Committee in 2014. This elevating relationship led Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel to close ranks which brought out risk of instability and further polarization in the Middle East. This study argues that Turkey due to its internal security problems mostly originating from the Middle East along with its desire to become a more assertive actor in the region is in the process of transforming from an insulator state to a game changer. Shielding Qatar from the encroachments of its fellow Gulf monarchies in addition to Egypt in the political arena, sending goods to ally the economic embargo imposed on the country and finally opening up a mili tary base in Doha demonstrate that Turkey has recorded significant progress regarding this purpose. However, the growing interaction between Turkey and Qatar -inevitably securitized by other countries in the region- will be likely to become the target of the military alliance that Saudi Arabia will establish with other countries in the Middle East, especially with Egypt.

Key words: Regional Security Complex Theory, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Security.


1. Introduction

The end of the Cold War marks a significant turning point in the role of regionalism and regional security arrangements in the study of International Relations. The regional level occupies a space between the level of the state and the international system. On the basis of proximity and shared historical and geographical roots, regional subsystems encapsulate an exclusive regional dynamic derived from balance of power relations and patterns of amity and enmity of its units.1

According to the Copenhagen School’s Regional Security Complex (RSC) theory, Turkey is an insulator state as it sits at the intersection of different security complexes without truly being part of any of them. Turkey located at the margins of three regional security complexes (RSCs): the European (which includes the Balkans subcomplex); the Middle Eastern (including the sub-complexes of the Levant, Gulf and Maghreb); and the ex-Soviet (including the Baltic; Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova; the Caucasus; and Central Asia).2 This understanding of Turkey’s position in the international security realm has offered a welcome contribution to the eternal debate about the country’s security alignment between East and West.

The aim of this study is to review and suggest adjustments to the regional security complex (RSC) theory worked out by Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver by examining whether it is possible for Turkey to become a “regional power“or “a game changer“ while remaining an insulator state. According to RSC theory, it is quite improbable for an insulator state to act like a great power.The combination of economic, military and societal assertiveness means that unlike many insulators, Turkey has the capacity to try and escape the status quo. The hypothesis of this study is that thanks to its geographic location and its political, economic and military capacities, Turkey is not an ordinary insulator but an active game changer.

Turkey’s geopolitical identity has undergone many changes since the end of the Cold War.Turkey’s foreign and security policy has changed dramatically in terms of both its regional context and its strategic goals since the beginning of the Arab Spring. Turkey has, in recent years, become more active on the international stage, diversifying its relations and taking a more assertive stance regarding international security issues. Turkish involvement in the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War started at a time when Turkey’s impressive record of democratic reform3 and economic growth in the 2000s supporte unprecedented national and international enthusiasm about the potentially democratizing influence of the country in the Greater Middle East, often referred to as the “Turkish model.“4 This shift in its foreign and security policy is related to the country’s ambition to become a great power in the near future. As a consequence, Turkey is, as former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton declared, an “emerging global power.“5 However, since Turkey which is not belong to one of these three RSCs it could not be a great power. Turkey could not be a great power in the Europeanthe RSC. EU’s refusal to continue negotiations on membership after 2005, and the rise of Islamophobia in Europe reduced Turkey’s enthusiasm for EU membership. Therefore, Turkey’s membership of the EU in the near future seems unlikely.

It is taken from TASAM Publishing's book named “New World Architecture Of Economy and Security“
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