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Gaza flotilla raid: Will it change Turkey's regional role?

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When did Turkey start down this path?

The end of the cold war opened up new opportunities for Turkey, which had played the role of an isolated junior partner to the United States, developing a cautious foreign policy that was more reactive than proactive.

The Iraq war, which resulted in a significant decrease in US influence in Turkey's neighborhood, further enabled Turkish leaders to think big in terms of their nation's foreign policy.

"Turkey has more room to flex its muscles," says Hugh Pope, Turkey analyst with the International Crisis Group. "The United States just doesn't have the levers it used to have on Turkey."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who came to power just days before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, turned to Ahmet Davutoglu to help shape Turkey's new role in the region – and in the world.

Mr. Davutoglu, an academic with a penchant for writing books such as "Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory," has managed to convey Turkey's foreign policy with a simple message: "zero problems with neighbors." That means reaching out to Middle Eastern nations that Turkey has ignored for decades and carving out a niche as mediator of ancient and modern rivalries.

What are the highlights so far?

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