Turkey’s increasing diplomatic clout is partly due to the opportunity of its location – a crossroads for centuries between East and West, and North and South, for people, ideas, trade, and now energy routes.
“It’s a way to show the public there are other things this government can do to stand tall,” says Mr. Hampson. With years of expanding economic growth, Turkey is the “new tiger of Europe. It underscores a sense of dynamism and confidence…. They are looking beyond the region.”
Hampson notes that when President Abdullah Gul traveled in March to Cameroon and Congo, he took with him an entourage of some 140 businessmen, exemplars of how Turkey-Africa trade has jumped from $1.5 billion in 2001 to more than $10 billion last year.
“Nature abhors a vacuum, and we’re seeing a real vacuum in world politics, and countries like Turkey can do it,” adds Hampson.
Davutoglu is a tireless proponent of what he calls Turkey’s “higher standards” of foreign policy.