EICTP Expert Paper: Stamatopoulos.The Role of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean Conflict Zone: A country transformed and a glimpse into the future.
ABOUT THIS PAPER
In view of the ending Trump presidency and its impact on regional geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, Ambassador Stamatopoulos seized the opportunity in December 2020 to examine Turkey’s role as an aspiring regional hegemon and its complicated partnership with Europe and the US. Apart from pointing out Turkey’s strategic position within NATO, he examined how religion and nationalism have been utilized in domestic and foreign politics in light of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman aspirations. With demographic changes of the last years greatly impacting Turkey’s socio-cultural set-up and thus also its electorate, Erdogan appropriated a religious form of nationalism to gain wide voter support.
Coupled with the gradual estrangement from Western partners, Turkey’s aggressive foreign policy, which strongly altered geopolitical dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean, emphasizes Erdogan’s attempt to establish Turkey as an indispensable player and a force to be reckoned with in the region.
By incorporating his experience as a diplomat and practitioner, this analysis summarizes pressing key aspects that occupy European policymakers with regard to Turkey and offer an outlook of her future role in this respect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ambassador Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopoulos was NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy from 2013 to 2016. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics, McGill University, and Georgia State University. He entered the Greek Foreign Service in 1979 and served in the United States, Egypt, Bulgaria and Belgium. As a national Diplomat he has held a number of important positions, including those of Director General for European Union Affairs and of Ambassador and Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council.